Why am I here? AKA: What is the meaning of life? Or more accurately, what is the meaning of MY life? We ask these questions in times of despair or great change, or half-heartedly after a few too many adult beverages. They’ve been addressed in blogs all over the internet and in comic strips. The subject has been gone over and run through by everyone from Aristotle to Monty Python’s Flying Circus.
But the best rephrasing of the concept appeared to me the other day courtesy of author Geneen Roth on her Facebook page:
“What do you think your ‘job description’ is here on earth? What do you think you were put here to do, be, know, communicate?”
Job description. Hmm. Never looked at it that way. When you put it in that 21-century, human term, suddenly it feels more accessible. Like if you thought about it enough, you could actually find the answer.
Personally, I think purpose is pretty fluid. There’s a broad, general description…kind of like within Human Resources there are many people with different titles and assigned duties, as well as “other duties as assigned.”
I wanted to answer to Geneen’s question, and struggled to keep it to a length appropriate for the Comment box. Fifty-eight people answered – ranging from “I have no idea” to finding their personal gifts to understanding what their gifts are but being unsure how to use them.
My answer: “I feel more and more that I’m here as a cosmic tour guide or cruise director, showing people where to go, helping them enjoy their time, and wave as they leave happier than when I first met them. I know that sounds weird, but I just think that my job is to make people feel happier and better.”
I did laugh at myself then, because I never pictured myself as Julie from The Love Boat. I’ve got a decent sarcastic streak that would get me thrown overboard on most ships and I don’t put up with nonsense and have limited tolerance for whinging.
But God knows, there’s plenty of fear, sorrow, tension, and anger to go around these days. I’m not cheerfully pretending it doesn’t exist. I receive daily reminders of how frustrating things can be.
I’d rather be part of the solution than part of the problem.
So, what am I here to do? Whatever God needs me to do. I listen to my spirit and if it burns a little brighter at an idea, then I go do it. He needs me to be the best mom I can be – not über-mom, just the best I can be. He needs me to be solid and present for the people in my life. Writing is a passion and I believe it factors into all this somehow, but it’s a work in progress.
What am I here to be? In practical terms? I’m not sure. I’m still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. Job titles, I have: freelance editor and writer, meeting coordinator, co-chairperson, part time instructor, account manager in training. If I capitalize it – what am I here to Be? – I’d have to defer to my friend Catherine, my BFF from high school and practitioner of healing arts in California. She believes I’m here to be a healer. Which I think is another way of saying “a good listener,” “a healthy support system,” “an understanding friend,” “a different way of seeing things.”
What am I here to know? That’s probably the toughest part of the question for me to answer. At different times in my life, I’ve either voluntarily or involuntarily looked back down the road I’ve just traveled, and I’ve been able to put together pieces. Little bits of information and knowledge and experience that, over time, become wisdom. I’m sure it will come in handy at some point.
What am I here to communicate? Remembering that communication is a two-way street – you have to listen and understand as well as talk – I will use my sufficient store of knowledge to, well, do what I can. I don’t know it all, and I may not have the best answer at times. Often, I just listen to my gut.
My eyes and ears tell me life is difficult and full of things that just don’t make sense, and full of people who are in it for themselves. My gut tells me choosing to live in optimism, with enthusiasm, with gratitude, going where the spirit moves me is a more authentic and wholehearted – and ultimately simpler – way to live.
What’s your job description? What does your resumé look like so far?