When I asked this question on social media I was gifted with many different answers. From “there is no purpose” to “if you need a purpose go find one” to “helping others” to “finding happiness” and “giving and receiving love” to “giving back more than you take” to “success in all endeavours” (including getting out of bed in the morning) to “becoming comfortable in your own skin” to “learning and growing” and finally to just “living it!”
All noble responses and each as profound as the next.
So then I got to thinking … okay, how would I wrap up life’s purpose into one phrase? One succinct sentence that just might collate all of these thoughts into one simple dictum.
The purpose of life is adventure.
Yes. I truly believe that the purpose of life is to treat it all as a great adventure. The ups, the downs, the bliss, the sadness, the disappointments, the highs, the heartbreak and the joy … all part of the huge adventure called life.
Think about it. Every time you set out to help your fellow man, whether on a grand scale or an intimate one-on-one level, YOU are creating an adventure. When my mother was undergoing radiation treatment and my sister and I were spending a lot of time ferrying her to and fro, she feared we might come to resent her. And we replied with full honesty “Not even one bit! Because this too is part of the adventure. The adventure of your long and fruitful life and the adventure of seeing its finale celebrated with grace and love.”
Indeed, the morning after she died I posted that she had “slipped quietly into her next adventure.” The earthly one was complete. The next one was a mystery waiting to be unraveled.
If you are searching for happiness, fulfillment and contentment I reckon you can do it one of two ways. The first is to sit around and wait for it to show up. Yeah, you can try that but I am pretty sure passive happiness-seeking has never won the day. I mean sure, you can find moments of contentment in a beautiful sunset or the call of the loon at sunrise but IF you want to actually live a happy life you have to create a happy life.
And therein arrives ADVENTURE! Because IF you look at this process as a great and exciting adventure then guess what? It WILL be a great and exciting adventure. If you, however, look at it as too much effort or poor me – what else? then yep, it is gonna be a slog. Doesn’t adventure sound so much more appealing? Go forth and adventure into the land of on-line dating! Go forth and move city and job to a more appealing locale! Go forth and travel as much as your heart and bank account will allow. Just remind yourself that adventure IS your buzz word. Not fear.
Certainly the blessing of giving and receiving love is one of life’s greatest adventures. Whether it’s your mate, your child, your friend, your dog, your parent or your boss, every single person in your orbit is part of YOUR adventure. They all bring nuance and colour and perspective and soul to your existence.
“But what about when my heart gets broken?” you might counter? That sure as hell ain’t no fun adventure!
Perhaps not. At the moment. But if you stop and say “Well, this kinda sucks and I’m kinda miserable but ya know what? THIS is going to lead to my NEXT adventure!” Well then everything changes. Because then, along with the despair comes huge, wide-open, blank-page HOPE! And nothing fuels an adventure better than unbridled optimism.
Years ago, when I was (yet again) newly single, and pondering the possibility of reuniting with my newly-departed love, only because I was alone and lonely, I reminded myself that my NEXT adventure was just around the corner. My last adventure had concluded and the next one had not yet commenced but damnit IT WAS COMING and all I had to do was be patient. Do the work. Make sure I was available for something new and exciting and not mired in the muck of everything old and done. Because as long as I was mired I was stagnant. And adventure is all about moving forward!
I just checked the dictionary.com definition of adventure. The usual suspects were there and then there was this: Adventure = a bold, usually risky undertaking; hazardous action of uncertain outcome.
And that, my friends, is life. A a bold, usually risky undertaking; hazardous action of uncertain outcome.
Well, the outcome is pretty certain. We all know where it ends. The real question is HOW is it lived?
As you read these words, please don’t think this is just a Well, that is just some overfed white chick blowing Disney smoke out of her ass.
I may be those things but I also know about life. Adventure. And change. As a matter of fact, I am pretty sure my life is about to change again. Because my beloved’s life is changing. And even though these changes aren’t exactly what we might choose they are coming whether we want them or not.
So … what do we do?
I vote for ADVENTURE. I choose to accept what comes and then move forward with an open mind and open spirit, ready for the next challenge. I am not mad or sad. Don’t get me wrong – if there was a fight here, I would fight! But there is no fight. Sometimes the greatest adventure is acceptance. And then forward motion. Or, in the words of one of my favourite Smooth Jazz groups Pieces Of A Dream – Forward Emotion. With an E.
Embrace the adventure and bring your heart and soul along for the ride. The rest of you will follow.
Because adventure doesn’t have to be climbing mountains or sailing oceans or safaris in Africa or traveling to outer space. Adventure is everyday living. IF you remember that the greatest adventure in life is LIFE. Being alive. And being grateful and excited for each and every day.
Go be an adventurer!
You lead and I am pretty sure your life’s purpose will follow.