“People say that we’re all seeking is a meaning for life. I don’t think that’s what we’re really seeking. I think that what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive.”
– Joseph Conrad
What is my purpose and meaning in life? I’ve been asking myself this question a lot.
Although Conrad (in quote above) suggests that maybe meaning is not the right question to ask, I am still looking for an overall “theme” to my life that answers the question, “What am I all about?”
I can easily tell you about all the things I do – writing, coaching, reading, directing events, swimming, trail running, learning, etc. – but I’m having trouble distilling capturing the essence of what I do (and more importantly why I do it) in a few words. What is the common denominator?
I don’t have a clear answer yet. A few older (and wiser) friends who have seemingly found their purpose tell me that finding one’s purpose takes time so be patient. I don’t like to sit still.
Author Dan Millman says to simplify the purpose question to, “What is my purpose right now?”
I can do that easily.
My purpose write now (as I’m typing this blog is to finish the blog post). Then my purpose will be to publish the blog online and share it on social media. Then I’m driving to the gym to take a Pilates class then swim with Masters.
Beyond that, I don’t know yet so I’ll have to find a new “next purpose” when I get past the immediate future that I do know.
But, I do know this.
When I look back at my life when I’m on deathbed – whether that’s next year or fifty years from now – I want to look back on a life of no regrets.
Not the regret for having done something stupid (plenty of those) but rather the regret for not having done something meaningful. The regret for not taking a risk, for not pursuing an opportunity or for not an experiencing an adventure.
One of my big “to do’s” is to write an epic novel – like Game of Thrones. I’ve written down some thoughts, came up with a few character names and read a few books about writing fiction and even wrote a short novel for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) but I haven’t progressed to starting the epic novel.
What’s stopping me?
Well, me, of course – fear, other priorities, etc. I have a hundred “good” reasons for not starting the actual writing.
Letting go of the known, easy path for a new experience – like jumping over the fire in a Spartan race - with an uncertain outcome is difficult (the worry about it being a waste of time also comes to mind), but – I truly believe – is necessary to continue to grow; otherwise, we stagnate like a stale pool of water. That sounds too much like future regret.
I’ll start writing today so if I don’t respond to your email today, you will know why.
Is there something that you want to do before you die but haven’t begun yet? Why not start today?!?!
Live life fully and without regret!
David B. Glover, MSE, MS, CSCS
President, ENDURANCEWORKS, LLC
Founder, School of Tri
Author of Full Time and Sub-Nine: Fitting Iron Distance Training into Everyday Life
…beyond what you knew you could do…