I struggle to find the purpose of my life.
At first, I thought it was to lead a good life and leave my mark on the world. I was told as a gifted child of all the potential I had and all of the great things that I could do if I only put my mind to it.
I was also a poor child, who had seen more hardship and struggle than should have ever been experienced by someone my age.
I made my goal in life to be comfortable. To be satisfied. To appreciate the small things in my life that made me happy; running water, electricity, new clothes, stability, love, friendship.
And then I met that goal. I was content. I was satisfied. I was- dare I even say it? – happy.
But slowly I lost all my drive. Slowly it all faded to nothing. Goals, hobbies, personal interests. All faded. There was no struggle in my life and so there was no effort to put forward.
I threw myself into my work thinking I could at least slay the corporate beast and climb the ladder at work. I reached the top of my ladder at 30. And as I stood at the top and looked down at my life so far, I realized all of those marks I would make, all of those great achievements I was promised – had not happened.
I reflected on some of the books I had read and the inspirational moments spied upon in printed words and they told me again that my marks have been in the hearts of the loved ones around me, of the ones I have helped. The ones I have reached out to in kindness. While I understood this intellectually, it felt so hollow. I had so much more to give the world and no where to give it. Perhaps a child was the next place to go. I had a solid financial base, I owned my own home, I drove a new car. I could certainly provide a better and more stable life than I had as a child. Someone I could pour all of my endless love into and leave that promised mark.
I was not (nor have I ever been) an idealist. I know and understand that a child isn’t vessel to fill with my hopes and dreams and steer in the directions I wanted to go in life. They are a person in and of themselves. From the moment they are born, they have their own likes, dislikes, decisions. I don’t want to misrepresent my meaning. Parenting was really the new life goal – the new project.
I have not been able to have children. I have had 2 miscarriages and the scars are tangible. I have not gotten over it. I have not bounced back in the way I thought I would bounce back. Emotionally, I am drained and feeling empty and barren and biologically a failure. Every ancestor I have ever had has successfully done the one thing that I apparently cannot – reproduce. For all my intelligence and work ethic and preparation for parenthood, I appear to be unable to procreate. As the holder of a biology degree, I think about all of the ways that I have measured populations in the past and how my own body defies those metrics. I have a fecundity of 0. I will not be a biological part of the future. My journey ends here.
I understand why people have religion – to solve this problem. To find meaning. To trust that there is a higher power out there with a greater plan than yourself of which each person is a valuable cog in the Great Machine.
I do not have religion. I do not believe such things. There have been moments in my life where I have wanted so deeply to believe in something greater than myself. At the age of 4 or 5 I realized that I did not believe in fairies; that I was pretending. And in that pretending, I was conceding that I did not really think they were real and there was no way to undo that belief. I cried. I did not even care if they were real; I just wanted them to feel real. I wanted to believe in the possibility.
The closest I can bring myself to believing in some great scheme is that there is energy in this universe that was released and created by the big bang (whose cause is not currently explainable to me and I doubt there will be a way to explain it. Perhaps the back end of a black hole in another dimension?). All of this energy is governed by the laws of physics and that is why everything happens the way it happens. Every gust of wind, every decision ever made, every moment, was determined eons ago when everything was created. I guess you’d say I believe in fate. But that’s hardly a creed to live by. If anything, it’s a great demotivator – why do anything at all if everything that happens was destined to happen? It’s best not to believe that a purposeless mechanism based on a set of definitive laws determines every action with no sense of morality when “deciding” your day to day activities.
What I’m saying is that I do not know where to go from here and I am running out of reasons to get out of the bed in the morning. Running out of reasons not to end it all.
The greatest motivator I have in my life at the moment is to not increase the suffering of others. My husband has been through too much pain and abandonment, my mother has been through too much pain and abandonment, and best friend has been through too much pain and abandonment. What a horrible mark to leave on the world for it to be more pain and suffering? That is not the kind of mark I want to leave. I don’t want to leave people with pain and fantasies of all of the different things they could have said or done or the signs they missed and how they could have changed it. Suicide only ends my pain – and I care about more than myself.
I also know that I cannot live simply to prevent trauma to other people indefinitely. I need to find a new purpose in my life – a new goal to strive for. I need to find something to wake up for in the morning. I am too comfortable. I was wrong as a child – I do not want to be comfortable. I need that internal aching to keep me going, to keep me moving. To keep me alive and not just breathing.
I need a purpose.