Creating Meaning or Thoughts on Purpose

Can you feel it in the air? It’s palpable. We are not only approaching the end of another year but the end of another decade. I’ve seen it on Facebook and Instagram, friends and those I follow posting images of themselves in 2009 and 2019—letting us all know how much they’ve changed (or stayed the same) in the last ten years. I feel it even more being a December baby where I am celebrating the start of a new year—a new age—and the ending of a year.

I find the end of anything is a great time to reflect on that thing, but the ending this time has brought a different kind of reflection and it’s the universe’s fault (of course I hold some blame for seeking self improvement, but mainly the universe).

I was watching an interview with Neil deGrasse Tyson a couple weeks ago and something he said made me pause the interview and write it down: “You have the power to create meaning in your life rather than passively look for it.”

Ever since hearing that, I have either heard or read similar sentiments from other people. I have a sense that the answer to the question, what is the meaning of life, is different for everyone. All this time I’ve been thinking that the meaning of life is external, I could find it somewhere outside myself, when it’s been internal.

Of course, I still believe that we all want the same things—to find happiness and avoid suffering—but I don’t think the meaning of our lives can be found in a collective answer. If we are all unique, why would the meaning of our lives be the same?

Thinking the meaning of our lives has to be the same for everyone has led us to conform, to do things we either didn’t want to do or do things for too long because we were told that was what we were supposed to do. This idea of creating meaning is transformative when reflecting on 2019 and setting goals for 2020.

What was the meaning of my life in 2019? What will the meaning of my life be in 2020? If I am able to create meaning instead of looking for it, what do I want my life to mean in this next decade? I know I want to look back on my life and see that I lived it well but what does that mean for me?

I’ve been trying to search for meaning, chase what I think the right path is, instead of creating a life using what I see as my purpose. Granted, it has taken a few decades to peel off the layers I put on to conform with society’s expectations, but I am reaching a place where I am ready to create my own meaning for my life.

Purpose for my life isn’t some mysterious force I have to seek out. It’s something I can create. Purpose isn’t something I can get from anyone else. It is something I can only get from myself. I create the meaning for my life and that, my friends, is magical because so do you.

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