This is what life is about right? Finding a purpose? This question had been permeating my thoughts a bit more than usual in the past two weeks given the events I had to witness. It isn’t so much of a fear of dying without accomplishing X goal so much as it is a fear of living without a purpose. Without meaning.
There are easy answers to the above question. Certainly, being a father one of those answers I see every day: raising my child. There’s also basic purposes beyond that. Those might border closer to the biological needs, but they still stand on the same mantle. But what about work? Is my purpose to work? To earn money?
Point to being a father and husband and earning money becomes a primary purpose. But not really. It’s a need, sure. I cannot fully fulfill my purpose of being the provider for my family without working and earning money. Does it make me happy? Does it fulfill my own needs and desires? Does it challenge me?
The problem is that I work for corporate America, like the vast majority of Americans do.
Now before I go much further, there’s always the religious arguments, or the nihilistic arguments as to what humanity’s purpose is. I choose to ignore them. I am an atheist, so to me religious purpose is out of the question. And then by scientific scaling, our lives are but a miniscule fraction of a moment in time, with us being only marginally larger than an atom. On one hand, that outlook is bleak. On the other, freeing. Why would I say that such a dire outlook is freeing? Well because it allows for the possibility of creating one’s own purpose. That’s what I am trying to figure out.
What is my purpose? I know what I want it to be: writing.
There’s other things I want to do with my life, things that I want to explore perhaps giving me added purpose, but working a corporate American job is not one of them.
Unfortunately, there is so much emphasis on maintaining a 40 hour (minimum), 5-day work week. I’d be fine working every day for a few hours if it was doing something I was into. Some weeks it would be more than 40 hours; other weeks it would be less than 10. Who knows? But should it matter?
In researching some of the habits of humans from just a few hundred years ago, it appears that the average person worked far less than humans today. Or at least humans since the industrial revolution. People filled their time with a lot more leisure. Time for hobbies. Passions. Friendships. Granted, there were other things that weren’t nearly as convenient as they are today, but I digress.
I find it absurd that people truly wish to work 40 or more hours a week to make a small portion of money while earning loads more for others. What’s fulfilling in that? Where’s purpose in that? We all need to work more to find the purpose within ourselves rather than for those who seem determined to make it for us.