Purpose in Prose

purpose exploration

I have been rather obsessed with finding “my purpose” or “my calling” in life for the better part of the last couple of years.

Funnily enough, one of the instances that kept recurring and ended up playing a part in my decision to start therapy for anxiety was my self-induced constant stress over needing to find my place in this world. I got to a point where at least once a week (if not twice), I would have a snivelling pathetic meltdown that Reid had to bear witness to and always talk me down from, with me saying, “What am I doing with my life? What are we doing in this RV? When will I ever feel like I know how I want to make a difference?” And Reid saying, “Stop worrying about it, just live and let it be and your purpose will find you!”

But alas, even though I know he’s right and I have all the time in the world to keep on with trial and error and attempts and failure and exploration, I just can’t seem to let it go that I want to have a PASSION and a motivating life DREAM that can drive my goals and my reason for doing things the way I’m doing them in life sooner rather than later.

Why am I here?

One of the things that helped me gain direction on this was my therapist assigning me the homework to journal every day with the prompt: “Why are humans on this earth?” Below are some selected quotes from this exercise –

“I take this question as asking ‘What is our purpose on this planet?’ And for that, I feel like I think it is to love, be loved, and be able to say at the end of our lives that we loved to the fullest. Love people, love animals, love (and appreciate and experience) nature/creation/art, and love ourselves.”

“I believe in an all-knowing God, who created us, I believe, to have others to give love to and receive love from.”

“I just feel like, for everything in existence, there just has to be a purpose for it, otherwise why would it exist? I believe that absolutely everything that happens, happens because it was meant to.”

“I feel that our ultimate purpose is to love, but then I also feel that underneath that umbrella comes the question of how do we best show and give love to others? I think if we’re all here for a reason, and that reason is to love, then finding our unique way of loving and sharing gifts with the world is our purpose as individuals. So, what is my God-given gift and how can I put it into practice contributing to spreading love in the world? That is what I’ve become so obsessed with finding.”

Seeing the Signs

It’s been a pie-in-the-sky bucket list item of mine to become a published author some day, to write a book and know that I finished that level of creative project. But, I never felt like I could pick this as my life’s dream for a number of reasons, including:

  • There is no way that I, procrastinator extraordinaire and never-finishes-anything-I-start girl, could actually write a BOOK. With multiple chapters. And 50,000+ words. I can’t even write blog posts on a regular basis, how the heck would I think I can write a novel.
  • Writing is a creative hobby, not a true way to help people, unless you’re writing self-help books, which I obviously can’t because who would see ME as a source of credible life advice? If I want to write fiction novels, that is a self-indulgent endeavor.
  • I didn’t get an English or Literature or any sort of writing degree. I don’t know how to even begin knowing what to do about writing a book.

However, a number of revelations presented themselves to me as I woke up in the middle of the night one night in October, and went down a rabbit hole of TED Talks on YouTube.

Earlier that October day, my mom had sent me this talk by Mel Robbins, “How to Stop Screwing Yourself Over”. I watched it and thought it was awesome and inspiring, but also felt like, she kept giving advice based on the given fact that “you know what you want” for your life deep in your soul’s desires, and I was thinking, “What if I don’t know what I want yet?? What da heck or da hey is my life’s calling and purpose??” I gotta decide what I want my end goal to be before I can stop holding myself back and screwing myself over from achieving it, right?

So then, that’s when I woke up in the middle of the night from a dream that was nagging at me and couldn’t go back to sleep so I went on the aforementioned rabbit hole of other TED talks about how to find what
you want and how to discover your life’s purpose, and had a realization: I want to be an author, who writes fiction novels that encourage greater empathy in readers.

And actually, I don’t know why I didn’t think of it sooner, but probably because I was too busy telling myself the bullet points above, or other silly and limiting self-doubt-y thoughts like that. But no more! I CAN write emotional and compelling stories that will inspire empathy and connection amongst readers, and I’m already a writer, but I WILL be an author!

Tying it all Together Into My Purpose-Driven Dream

Things I wrote down in my journal that night when I awoke and realized that many different aspects of my life had been trying to point me in the direction of being a writer and owning it:

  • “Dreams” – I’ve always been a rather vivid dreamer, and Reid has said to me many times before that I should record my dreams and share more stories from them, so I already have a source of idea material. Also, from the time I started 1st grade I was reading 4th-grade level chapter books, and because of my long-time love of reading I’ve always admired authors and had a secret dream to join their ranks someday.
  • “Empathy” – I had found an article similar to this one earlier in the summer, stating that reading fiction fosters greater empathy because it’s basically a practice in putting yourself in someone else’s shoes and escaping your reality to absorb someone else’s feelings and circumstance. If the big thing I’m all about is Empathy, then writing stories that can help others grow in this trait just by consuming them is a perfect fit for my life mission.
  • “Anxiety” – for me, experiencing anxiety is like imagining never-ending possible futures where some version of the worst happens. Maybe if I can harness these stories into a productive creative outlet like writing a book, then I can make art out of my anxiety and take away its power by using it for my own purpose and dreams.
  • “Connection – book clubs + conversations” – a unique study has shown that deep and meaningful relationships are the number one predictor of lifetime success and happiness, and books have facilitated closer relationships in my life already. I love book clubs and talking with friends and family about situations in books that spark conversations we may not have delved into otherwise, and I would love for a book of mine to one day spark discussions that can foster deeper connection in relationships.
  • “Blogging – forming writing habit” – For many years now, I’ve felt compelled to keep pressure on myself to journal and blog, and have about 200 hastily-typed notes in my iPhone at the moment from getting some sort of inspiration or having a thought I needed to jot down just in case I wanted to write more on it later. I don’t think that all people feel the urge or need to do these things, so I should follow that intuition and stop holding myself back from writing and putting my writing out there in the world. Also, I read that most publisher-published authors need to have a personal blog presence out there on the interwebs these days if publishing houses will seriously consider them (which not sure if I’ll want to go that route as self-publishing through Amazon is a thing now, but regardless, can’t hurt to develop a better habit of writing and sharing it).

Also, when I was home in McKinney for the Taylor Swift concert in October, I went through the scrapbook of my elementary school years that my mom had made for me. My aunt had earlier in the year sent me an email suggesting that one way to find your passion as an adult is to think back on things you enjoyed and thrived in as a child since you probably still have a natural inclination for and interest in those things. See below for selected pictures of this scrapbook from my mom –

In all of my jobs as an adult thus far, someone recognized and sought me out because of my writing. In recruiting, my team would ask me for my email templates I sent to candidates, and my best friend in the office would ask my advice on wording before sending certain emails of her own because, she told me, I have a way with words. In my executive assistant role, the marketing team approached me after reading some of the more HR-esque company-wide email communication I sent out. They asked if I would be interested in doing some copywriting for our social media and blog, which became what I now do for them remotely.

I LITERALLY am presently getting paid for, ahem, writing, and was STILL having trouble calling myself a writer. Crazy, huh? Also, discovered something cool: Googled myself to explore if I should pick a pen name, and… I’m an author already too! (Oh and you can see all my blog posts for Ozobot here if you wish to.)

Leaning into Writing in 2019

This post may be coming to you on a Tuesday instead of Monday, but it’s one that I started working on in October so I’m counting publishing it at all as a win for my writing habit today.

Another thing I’ve struggled with in getting momentum going on a blog is that you’re supposed to have a “niche,” and I never really had one other than just saying it’s a personal lifestyle blog. Well, now I can say that my niche is writing to write, and posts may be about writing or they will just be, in essence in and of themselves, writing practice.

Thank you if you’ve read this much!

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