I have absolutely no clue what in the hell I’m doing. I’d wager that most of you don’t know what you are doing either. What is your life’s purpose? It’s not an easy question to answer, it strikes at the very core of what we as individuals have been, are, and will be. Today I was reading a fascinating article about the incredibly talented band Code Orange Kids (you can check the article out here). The first thing I noticed about Code Orange Kids when I first saw a video of them performing live was how young they all are. Every single member of the band is in their teens, freshly graduated from high school, and they just got signed to a respected underground label. As the author of the article said, “What the fuck was I doing with my life that these kids seem to have it so figured out?” Four teenagers, the same age as me, have crafted a unique and cohesive artistic vision, and they have even achieved success with that vision. Seeing other people your age achieve something tangible has a way of making you feel like shit. But on the bright side, it forces you to confront the question that hovers over us all the time like an inescapable rain cloud, What is the purpose of my life?
Various people have different answers, but in my experience most people fall back to a couple of core answers that serve as placeholders until they can really figure things out. The most common answers to the question of one’s life purpose are: personal happiness, helping others, serving God, or being remembered. To me at least, those are all very unsatisfactory answers. I don’t mean to imply that any of those answers are wrong, they just don’t satisfy me. There is a deep seated existential fear that everything we have done, are doing, and will do is completely meaningless in the grand scheme of things. What makes that thought especially subversive and menacing is the fact that I can’t really refute it. Everything and everyone dies and is forgotten eventually, even the titans of history will one day cease to exist even in the minds of others. That covers the tangible world. Now, I believe in the afterlife, but even with that belief, the question of “Does anything really matter?” still worms its way into my thoughts. In the scale of the infinite, where there is no final state of existence or definitive end to the chain of cause and effect, it is hard to see how any action we could take would matter. Since actions are judged by their consequences, how can they have meaning if there is no definitive end consequence? Honestly, I don’t know. I can’t tell you why anything we do matters at all.
Hold on, I wouldn’t leave you on that note, with nothing to mull over but a nihilistic uncertainty. Actually, that is absolutely something I might do, but not today! Let’s look back at Code Orange Kids. I don’t know them personally (I wish I did), but I am pretty sure they don’t create their music with the intention or belief that it will last forever and alter the universe, but that doesn’t diminish their purpose. We get through life day to day without being crushed by the weight of insignificance because we don’t focus on it, we do things. I can’t tell you what the purpose of your life is, or even how to find your purpose (I can’t even fully figure it out for myself), but I can tell you that you should find something to sink your teeth into. Do what you love, live the life that helps you best satisfy the ravenous desire for importance that burns us all up. In the end, what else can you do but look to the horizon and move forward.
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