“You know how every once in a while you do something and the little voice inside says, ‘There. That’s it. That’s why you’re here’ …and you get a warm glow in your heart because you know it’s true? Do more of that.” ~Jacob Nordby
Mornings running the busy roads with the echo of what this one or that one said, lying in my bed in the middle of sunlit days staring at a bamboo plant on my dresser, seasonal jobs, getting all dressed up for waste-of-time employment fairs, scribbling in my notebook when my spirit demanded I fight back—at the rejection letters, at the no responses, at the feeling that I simply wasn’t good enough—this is what a lot of my twenties was made up of, but that’s not all.
I had moments in those seasonal jobs that lit my unique spirit and showed me exactly what I loved and cared about.
In everything I took action on there were hints of a young woman crying out: “This is a puzzle piece of who you are right here. This is important. Take notice!”
The rejection letters led to setting myself free through concerts, unforgettable trips, and quality time with those closest to me, and they gave me more writing inspiration.
The time alone, not feeling that I fit in with any of my peers and that my life wasn’t progressing along the traditional trajectory I was witnessing, pushed me to dive into my emotions and think about what I truly value.
I wrote it all down. It turns out that all the tears and isolated fears pushed me into creating stories and poetry that are all about love and are essentially a quest to understand and care for each other more.
In spending so much time alone with my feelings and knowing deep down that there must be others who feel this way too, I developed an even more empathetic nature that caused me to want to reach out to others more than ever before.
But it took me a while to focus less on the destination and recognize the value in the journey.
The moment I graduated I felt this compulsion and desire, which I believe stemmed from my past imprinted insecurities, to define myself immediately. I needed to figure out right away who I was going to be, lock it all in.
No one tells you when you’re setting out on your life that no one’s story works that way.
I thought life would just tick along like checking off items on a to-do list, especially through witnessing the social media highlight reel of my peers. I didn’t make the connection that it was, in fact, their highlights.
I only saw a part of the character in these peers of mine, and honestly, who would tune into that show? Who would want to see a perfect life played out day after day with no one being challenged to see how they rise to the occasion and come out an even more beautiful form of their unique self?
I had watched so many soap operas and TV dramas by that time, and yet, I did not understand that this was clearly not the full picture, just as I was only showing my highlight reel. I wasn’t going around telling everyone about the pain and loneliness I felt. I wasn’t posting about the dozens of rejections I had received.
Maybe if we did post all of these things we would be more mentally at peace, but at the same time, I think that would also cause us to stagnate as we communicated all our troubles and injustices constantly.
What we want isn’t always what is best for us. If we were able to be so open, I don’t believe we would be propelled into action through having to sit in those feelings and figure out how we’re personally going to step up and out of a situation to create our own unique story.
I basically played the victim many times when I would see what I thought was my peers so effortlessly checking off milestones on their personal to-do lists. So, what did I do?
In some indignant notion that I would be missed, I went on and off Facebook more times than I could ever count, thinking when I came back on, things would be different, and I would be validated when joining my community once again. That’s not what I received, and that’s not what I truly needed.
I believe this loneliness and question of ones’ life purpose can come at any time. This just happened to occur for me in my twenties, and I’m glad I’m beginning to understand why I felt all that I did.
I believe we are all unique. None of us are replaceable, and we all have the capacity to fulfill many purposes in our lifetimes, through different stages, as our priorities, interests, and values change.
I am a very different person than the confused young woman of my twenties because I no longer search for my purpose, as if it’s this one big thing I need to figure out. Instead, I follow what I love and fixate on all the good I have in my life.
I constantly focus in on all that I am grateful for. I keep a record of my achievements. I read my favorite books over and over again. I watch my favorite TV shows, which are still teen dramas, I must confess. I look at art and listen to music that ignites my spirit.
When I’m feeling stuck, movement is key, whether it’s running or doing household chores.
I know that I am following my purpose as long as my heart feels that I am being true to myself.
I still get insecure. I don’t think that will ever go away, and maybe it’s one of those things you don’t want that is in fact good for you. Without my insecurities, I wouldn’t have to keep reaffirming what I am passionate about, and without reaffirming, there’s a chance I could lose myself.
I found through searching for my purpose in what I refer to as my “crossroads period” in my twenties that it’s not one thing to be achieved, one path to be fulfilled. My purpose is a continuous journey of loving those closest to me and deeply following what my heart tells me.
I believe in the search for my purpose I was also able to identify the kind of people I want on my team, the kind of people I want in my life. These people are few and rare but as true as can be.
I know that the overriding purpose of everyone’s life is to discover your people and keep them close. They will be your guideposts and your encouragement to fulfill the passionate enormity your life is meant to embody.
This family of mine is what keeps me moving forward and holding the belief that I am living a life of purpose simply by loving and being loved by them, regardless of what else I do with the time I’ve been given.