Not Having a Purpose in Life Is My Purpose
4 min read | Apr 2022

Not Having a Purpose in Life Is My Purpose

I’ve never been able to settle on a career path—and I’m glad I didn’t.

elle écrit / Millennial / Libertarian / Jane of All Trades

What's your purpose? Why are you here?

Those are questions that a typical college freshman might ask themselves before picking a major. So why, at age 31, am I asking myself these same questions? Is it a midlife crisis? I hope not. I do believe I have another 50 years in me on this earth, but who knows; we can talk about climate change in a different article. 

I’ve never felt like I’ve known my purpose in life. The search for one has left a trail of domain names, courses, jobs and journal entries behind me. It's been an exhausting journey, doing so many things to get to no particular destination, but it’s been fun. First, I went to college and graduated with a science degree in communications. Then, I got a job running the marketing department for a big beef company before deciding I was vegan; I then shifted to be a copywriter for a nonprofit. I even worked for a remote company as a digital manager before the whole remote work thing was a thing. 

I didn’t know what I was meant to do, but I did know being stuck in a dimly lit cubicle drinking stale coffee was not the vibe for my life, so I started my own copywriting business. And I killed it: I hit my financial goals; clients were pouring in; and I finally had freedom of time. But it didn't feel right, so I decided to keep trying new things. I even got a yoga teacher certificate, although I still haven’t ever taught a class.


Is 31 Too Old for Birth Charts and BuzzFeed Career Quizzes?

And now here I am at age 31, working random writing gigs and floating around on the internet, Googling "find my purpose quiz" and pouring over human design charts, horoscopes and anything else that might point me in the right direction. But to be honest with you, I don't think I even have a direction. 

I think that the road trip of my life was meant to have a shit ton of detours. I think that if I tried to zoom in on the final destination, there just wouldn't be one. And it took me a lot of time to sit with that; OK, maybe it's been like a month. But if you couldn't tell, sitting still is hard for me. And I sort of blame my kindergarten teacher. Don't get me wrong, Mrs. Rittenhouse was a nice teacher and all, but asking me what I wanted to be when I grew up at age 5 has given me a lifelong complex of feeling like something is wrong with me for simply not knowing the answer. 

And it got me thinking, why do we do that to kids? Why are we conditioning them to believe that their whole reason for being here is to pick a career? Can we blame it on consumerism? Can we blame it on the school system being built to produce workers? I mean, I have spent my entire adult life trying to find my purpose, and because of the way I was educated, conditioning attached my purpose to a career. What the fuck is that? A job can't be my reason for existence on this planet. I refuse to believe that because that's really fucking boring.

Our Work Shouldn’t Define Us

So if you are reading this, just know you are more than a resume. Your purpose doesn't have to be tied to your career. Sure, I am grateful for doctors who decided saving lives is their life calling. But I am also grateful to know now that sometimes your purpose on this planet can be that you don't have one. 

Maybe some of us are meant to float around, try new things, shake shit up, have some fun. Maybe not having a purpose is an awakening, a release for the soul to freely exist in a way that is not tied only to consumerism and this weird nine-to-five construct we have created in this world.

Maybe I’m not the misfit; maybe the career-oriented are. Or maybe I just tell myself these things to justify the fact that I started a podcast this week and, who knows, maybe that will be my thing for now. But regardless of the answer, I can tell you this: The day I decided I didn't want to have a purpose was the most freeing day of my life. It took off the pressure. It gave me permission to freely try new things, to remove the identity of being wishy-washy or inconsistent. It gave me the freedom to fail. I don't fear failure. If anything, I fear being stuck.


I Don’t Have the Answers, and Maybe That’s How It Should Be

So if you are Googling "what is my purpose" and ended up on this article, I’m sorry I can’t give you the answer because honestly, I don't think there is one. I think many of us are waking up and realizing that we can honestly do whatever we want until we decide we want to do something else. And if that's you, congratulations: You are living a free as fuck life that will make zero sense to anyone around you. But who cares? Living for others is probably what got us all into this mess in the first place. 

So the moral of this confession of a digital nomad is simply this: Not having a purpose is a purpose. Maybe you can wrap your head around that one; I'm still trying. But not having all the answers is what makes life fun. It's still an adventure, so use that as your muse.  

Now that I officially quit my business and am just floating out in the void, you might wonder (OK, maybe I wonder, too), what's next? And my answer to that question is I have no fucking clue. But that's sort of the whole point. I refuse to spend any more time trying to figure it out. I’m just going to follow my excitement. Being a Pilates instructor is looking kinda cool. Maybe I’ll try that next.

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