Why don’t more of us take on the tough questions like, “What do you want to leave behind?”, or “What difference do you want your life to make?”
One reason is mainstream education was specifically designed to train us for factory-type work for the top 1%, and the last thing the one percenters want is us questioning our life’s purpose. Another much less sinister reason might be that many of us may feel guilty about our answer: we’re not interested in changing the world or leaving a legacy—we just want to enjoy our lives.
We just want to have fun
Is that so bad? I think it may seem bad because of our religious beliefs and all the new age self-help literature glorifying service. I think there is nothing wrong with any ambition, no matter how big or small as long as you have one. Whether it’s to found the next Google, cure cancer, or set the Guinness world record for selfies, your ambition serves to give your life velocity—not judgment.
It’s perfectly valid to have “Enjoy My Life” as your life’s mission and if you’re clear on that—bravo! No fighting for human rights, world peace, education, or freeing Willy for you. Dalai Lama you’re on your own. You’d prefer to update your Facebook page with selfies in front of cool people and places. That’s fine—as long as you consciously chose to do that with your life and don’t feel guilty about it.
Being selfish is OK
And I’m not encouraging selfishness. I just think everyone has a right to feel what it’s like serving herself before exploring a life serving others; and I believe everyone will sooner or later get to a good place as long as they freely make their own choices with an inquiring mind.
I also believe that selfish living will eventually lose its appeal—even if you can afford to live the high life of clubbing, traveling, fine dining etc.
Sooner or later you’ll discover that sharing your authentic, vulnerable self—hopes, fears and dreams— is more meaningful than ego boosting consumption even if you share those material things and experiences. That’s why so many rich people are unhappy—they’re surrounded by leeches who only want what their money can buy.
Your road to a meaningful, passionate life may require that you spend many years directly trying to make yourself happy; eventually to discover one of life’s ironies is that your own happiness comes from comes from helping make others so.
And if not, if you find true happiness boozing and traveling the world, who’s to say that’s a bad thing; as long as—from all the other choices available to you—you truly chose and enjoyed the boozing and traveling.
Your job is to choose, and choose powerfully.
Only you can choose what your life is for; only you can give it meaning.
At least ask the big questions of yourself and create your own answers; then live them. If you think you’d like your life’s ambition be “Enjoy My Life”, then don’t feel guilty about your choice, just explore what that means for you in the practice of your life.
Your choice will either nourish your spirit or starve it; if the latter, then revisit the questions and choose again. There’s nothing wrong with your choice as long as you’re actively engaging with the questions that matter.