Before you continue any further, just make sure that you’ve read the title to this article, because it is important.
Got it? We good to go? Alright then.
Have you ever considered an explanation to your life? Like the purpose of why you exist and what not?
Okay, maybe not a fantastic first question to start things off with, but then again, you are literally reading a newspaper, who knows what the hell could be in those? Just a bunch… world politics and some… Sudoku.
But hey, stick with me for just the next few paragraphs, alright, maybe I have the answers on how to get 100 percent on some of your final exams… Okay, I don’t have those answers, but still, just… bear with me. I don’t mean like the animal, but… you know what? Let’s just get on with it.
Now life, life itself, clearly has a purpose, right? And it clearly has to be a well defined purpose if it’s going to explain life, right? Right? Surely, you can’t just have this really big fundamental concept just exist without any sort of specific explanation? I mean, that would be ridiculous, that would be… reasonable?
Think about it for a second, have you ever gotten a consistent answer for the meaning of life? Not really. And if you did, the answers that are similar are probably still too general, and don’t necessarily reflect the life of that person that accurately. You can’t get a defined answer. I mean maybe you can but that is just difficult to pull off. I’m pretty sure Greek philosophers also had differing views on that, and they’re supposedly the smartest guys when it comes to questions like these!
What does this all mean then? Well, it means that the purpose of life is that there is no defined purpose.
Now hold on, before you say anything, note that I said “defined” alright? I didn’t say general. I’m not trying to type up an article with a pessimistic attitude that would be fitting for a Joker standalone movie. There’s a reason I say defined and it’s because it’s simple: if there is no defined purpose in life, then that means that the purpose can then be left to be defined by someone themselves, because it does still have to be defined (this is the part where the professor would insert the typical “the problem is left as an exercise to the reader” in their assignment… but I’m not that evil… right?). It would have to be defined someone who has a life, such as you, the person reading this who is in possession of life or some form of it, because I sure as hell would concerned if someone without a pulse is reading this… unless we’re talking artificial hearts or something, in which case, that’s really cool… man, I’m starting to get side tracked like Cohen (Cohen, if you’re reading this, you are still one of the best profs in my opinion, scout’s honour, whatever that means).
Anyways, you’re the one who gets to define the purpose of life, although it is only for your life, because that’s something that exists on an individual level, not a whole entire concept. We already established it’s different for every person, so it exists on an individual basis. So now, with that in mind, I can basically define life as this: life has no defined purpose, other than the purpose that you give it for yourself.
Some of you might think of this as anti-climactic. Well, I’m sorry you feel that way but, oh well, you only lost about a few minutes. But I’m still not done yet. You have to agree with me that the purpose of your life is that you pick the purpose. It’s consistent with what I pointed out earlier: the answers you get from people are inconsistent, although this is my general observation, so I could be wrong. But this then becomes a pretty solid answer, especially when you consider the potential answers: the purpose is whatever the religion you follow teaches you, it could be to become very rich and live a luxurious life, or to live a very simple and go-with-the-flow life… or it could be to literally eat one of every single donut. It is up to you!
This also then means you can’t really be judged that harshly for not living your life how other people expect you to live it (unless it involves hurting other people, in which case, not cool dude). Someone tells you “oh, you HAVE to be a top student” or “oh, you shouldn’t worry about being fit”, it doesn’t matter. They can’t tell you, because they don’t have the answer. They can make suggestions, and then from there you can decide, but it doesn’t impose what you have to do.
“But- but, I don’t know what my purpose is! What do I do?”
See, that’s where things become even better with this answer. You want to know what to do if you don’t know what it is? Your purpose then is to find whatever that purpose is and embrace it! Because that’s actually one of the answers! Some people go about their lives with no exact direction, but they eventually adopt a certain purpose, even if they don’t actually know it. You could have lived your whole life doing exactly what it is you were supposed to do without having acknowledged it. But to have recognized it makes a difference. After all, it’s better to ride a roller coaster while seeing where it goes and what it’s like.
So now, I threw this at you: life has no defined purpose, but you make it for yourself, and if you haven’t yet, then your purpose is to find and adopt it. But what if you don’t think there’s a reason to? What if you think the purpose is too muddy, too pointless to find?
Remember when I said to remember the title of this article? I want you to think for a moment how that would tie in to what I’ve said so far. It wouldn’t because I haven’t brought up the analogy yet, I simply needed to give a bit of context in order to tie in this very short point. Plus, in the midst of writing this, I realized it was probably ideal that I also provided what I gave you just now in order to give you the whole entire cake, and not just a slice of it… or cheese, if that’s what you like… cheese is really good… maybe I should’ve said cheesecake…
Consider you’re playing a game that involves you holding and exchanging cards, almost like poker. If you don’t know about poker, that’s okay. If you do know about poker, I better not see you gambling with me in Las Vegas (disclaimer: I have never gambled, especially for money, and I never will… I hope). Anyways, it’s simple. You have this hand of cards, and the cards in it define how good it is, or how bad it is. As the game goes on, you gain some cards, you lose some cards, and you exchange some of them. Natural, right? You play to improve your hand but because of the rules of chance, you never know how it will go.
And this is the importance of the analogy, because this is one side of life that I think of as a deck of cards and this game you play: you’re playing to better your hand, and so sometimes, things will be good, and sometimes things will be bad. Things will look good that then go bad, and things that look bad will go good, like getting a 90 on a test you thought you would fail. You keep playing to work so that the hand improves.
But sometimes, your hand becomes really bad, like, really, really ugly. We’re talking like a 20 minute wait line to the nearest washroom when you had three burritos from Taco Bell bad. And in that moment, all you might think is “this is it, I’m done. I want to quit, I don’t want to do this anymore”. And you’re tempted to reach for the option to forfeit this game you play with this deck of cards. To throw down your hand, call it a day and leave. I get that, I think we’ve all been there. But I want to tell you to never throw your hand down. Because once you do, you’re not getting it back.
But why should you keep playing? Why should you bear with this bad hand? It’s because as long as you keep playing, the opportunity for you to change your hand exists. The opportunity for you to trade out your cards exists. You keep playing, and you will always, ALWAYS, have the chance to make things better. You decide to forfeit, and that chance is gone. You stick around long enough, you might be surprised with how things turn out. Things can happen, they can change, I’ve seen it, and I think you have too. As long as the game isn’t over, which I assure you will never be the case, not for a long time, you’ve always got that opportunity.
So like I said, life is what you make of it, no matter what. And if you don’t know what you have to make of it, you don’t have to worry, because you then have your life to figure out what to make of it. And even if it does get ugly, even if you do get hit badly, like failing a course, even if you do get a bad hand, keep playing. Stick around. The game is still going, you’ve still got a load of opportunities for your hand to improve and for life to become even better. And sometimes, your hand can change in an instant, when you least expect it.
Congratulations on making it through the whole article, unless you skipped to the end, in which case, I am disappointed, but eh, it is what it is. I hope that I didn’t sound like an absolute lunatic from typing this, but even if I did, maybe you had a good time reading it, and that is satisfying enough. Take care of yourself. Oh, and if you see a guy with a grey lunch bag strapped to his black backpack, wearing boots, tell him uhhhh, let’s see, tell him that his… sandals look nice. Yeah, that’ll be a funny prank, especially if I end up forgetting that I wrote this. Take care, and have yourself a good one!