The sidewalk is made of black and white tiles and the temptation to not step on the white ones is too big. Even as grown-ups we can make games out of daily components of our lives — or keep playing the ones we have since we were kids. And what is a game but a set of rules with a purpose? Step on the white tile, game over.
Our ability to make sense of things, be it for work, or for sheer playfulness, is immense.
Life is rich; it offers us countless ways to interact with the outside, play, and create meaning.
So… what’s the point of your life?
Crazy as it is, in a world where everything has a point, even if “just for pleasure”, we keep asking “what is the point of life?”.
In a society full of external expectations and demands, no wonder we get tired of playing along and feel deprived of meaning. All these “have to’s” don’t resonate with our hearts.
When we create our own businesses we spend days, if not weeks, discussing what is our mission and vision. Write a book, and you will have to define what the book is about. In romantic relationships, we talk about what is a good relationship, and every time there’s an issue it is discussed and worked on, so that the relationship can live strong.
Not doing the same with a question as big as “what is the point of my life?” and expecting to have a ready-made and satisfying answer is comical.
None of the things above have intrinsic meaning. We gave meaning to the business, to the book, to the relationship. We decided chairs are to sit on, but we could also have decided that chairs were types of shelves; or that when we love we give our lover our favorite rock instead of flowers.
Our life is our biggest project; it requires us to show up and decide what we want out of it.
It is worth of as many check-ins and status meetings as any other of our projects. Life invites us to be creators of our reality, taking conscious care of it, pretty much like everything else.
Why do we expect that ready-made answer from life, when we don’t have any issues attributing meaning to all small facets of our daily lives ourselves? We have no issue with listening to music only for pleasure, to eat tasty food to nourish our bodies and to work to pay for that food.
If we say life is pointless, then surely that is what we get, for that is what we have provided to ourselves.
Now, is a pointless life enough for you?
Dancing, listening to music, humor, the pleasure of togetherness can all be an end in themselves, for they are joyful. But we can also do the same thing with very different purposes: we could dance to impress the cute guy across the dance floor, to burn calories or to win a dance competition.
Some of the meanings we carry are created by ourselves given our personal interests, whereas others are socially constructed. Like the meaning of a brand of clothes, attributing social status.
All meanings can co-exist, and none of them is right or wrong. What matters is: are they true to us? The final judge is our hearts.
Purpose that is not aligned with our hearts, sooner or later gets us frustrated, for it has no meaning. You can work in an NGO all you want, and tell yourself your purpose is to help, but if you don’t believe that NGO is actually doing good work, sooner or later, game over.
Let’s face it: a life deprived of meaning is disturbing. To avoid facing the fact we don’t know our meaning, we either cheat ourselves with fake meanings, or keep ourselves too busy so we don’t think about it.
There’s a limit to how much we can play along and pretend. Eventually we find nothing but a weight on our shoulders, a big emptiness, and, with all those boxes to be ticked, we feel lost. Defeated, we say “there’s no point.”
We need truthful purposes, no matter if it’s only about fun, creating beauty or decreasing global warming.
Life is not pointless. Life is full of points.
Can the point of life be to create beautiful buildings to an architect, write ten books to a writer, find out how to solve climate change to a scientist? Yes. Can the point of life be to have as much joy as possible? Yes, too.
Purposes have many facets. For a musician playing guitar is fun, but improving her skills is also crucial, so she can create better songs and better express herself — and have fun while playing new songs. All of these require some work.
To harvest our fruits, we have to sow. Life is joyful, but not only. Life is challenging, but not only. Not only can anything have multiple purposes but also meaning can change overtime.
Life is immensely pleasurable. The difficulty for some to get in touch with that shows how we have accepted a life deprived of pleasure, or where pleasure is restricted to certain parts of life. As if pleasure was only a reward for doing our duty.
This says more about how we see life, than about life’s intrinsic meaning.
We are disconnected from the pleasure of being alive. Because we don’t feel that raw life energy pumping in our blood as when we were kids, we feel down and ask ourselves: what is the point of this?
The more joy we have, the more the purpose in everything is clear. What this requires of us is for us to be fully present in life. Yet, we rob ourselves of life all the time. Like when we order a delicious food but barely taste it, because we are on our phones, or watching TV, or thinking of somewhere else. It doesn’t take much to fully savor it, yet it seems to hard for us to do that — be present and rejoice.
Joy and pleasure are end in themselves, and all they require is our presence. To not take ourselves so seriously. To surrender to life. Notice the beauty around us, connect to our dear ones.
Simplified to the max, the point is to live, fully — in any way you want it that is true to your heart.
Are you ready for that?
It’s about how you see life — and not about life’s unique meaning.
For the meaning of your life derives from how you see life.
Your life is your responsibility.
Nobody owns you providing you meaning.
Life is pointless when we are scared of the responsibility of having a point.
Life is pointless when we don’t want to do our part in it.
Life is pointless when we don’t care about life.
The truth is, once you know what makes you tick, there’s nothing between you and living your purpose fully other than your willingness and commitment — and that takes guts.
And so it is easier to say life has no point, or that you don’t know, for that saves you the trouble of doing any extra work.
Confusion comes from fear. Fear of taking action. Fear of committing. Fear of choosing. Fear of change.
We get to choose the values we want to live by, the energy and mood we bring to every moment, how we want to create our days, what we want to learn, how we express ourselves, the people we spend time with, what we put our attention and energy on.
Most importantly, not only do we get to choose these things, but we get to change them whenever we want.
That, my friend, requires one thing of you: to be alive. Present in your life. Not a zombie, scared of life and just following the status quo.
Alive, we can infuse life with willingness, desire, imagination.
Life is a journey we create ourselves. Like the black and white tiles on the sidewalk, we create the game, we choose where to step.
The more unconscious and unintentional the step, the more pointless it will all seem.
It is because we have accepted the rules of someone else, such as our parents and society, that we get frustrated and feel sad with life’s pointlessness. That only creates disengagement with life. Good thing we can all wake up.
The absurdity of life is only painful for those who have grown used to leaving the sheer pleasure of being behind, or are too scared of the responsibility of having a point and creating life on their terms.
The other side of the coin is that the absurdity of life is playful, entertaining, a mystery.
The part of us that is scared or committing to a purpose, for more temporary that this purpose might be, is the same part of us that prefers being sorry for ourselves on the couch than out living, healing our wounds, and expanding. Like when we say we want to write a book or play guitar but have no time — yet always find the time to watch Netflix. The part that prefers ease, comfort, and safety, over the adventure of life and growth.
To have your purpose, all you need is to live, to be you, in full presence.
What makes you tick?
Hi, I am Aline Ra M, spiritual guide, energy worker, and tea lover.
Ready to start on your journey?