Maybe there's a reason I go through all of the shit that I go through.
I was telling a friend about an unpleasant situation I'd been through and he said to me, "man, you've been through some shit."
I tend to think my life has been somewhat more difficult than those around me. I don't for a second believe my life is more difficult than that of those with fundamental problems (food, shelter, etc) but for my place in the world, it's been pretty rough.
But maybe not. I don't honestly know if those around me find life as difficult as I do. How would we even measure such a thing?
Regardless, I believe my friend was correct. It may be true that everyone has been through their own brand of shit, but either way I can say for certain that I have been through mine.
And I can also say that I'm driven by facing, understanding, and overcoming every damn challenge in turn. Even if I don't think I am at the time, that's always the way the story goes. (I guess life can beat you down so hard you don't even realize you're fighting back until you're winning.)
I've often wished things could be a little easier. But lately, I'm not so sure if I'd want that.
What's your purpose in life?
If you had asked me that question a month ago, I would have had no good response. I would probably have questioned whether or not life even had a purpose. And, if a purpose is just something that keeps you going, surely that of most of us would be selfish.
"To eat. To create offspring. To have fun."
These are fine. I don't believe we all need to aspire to do big things. Or the same things. Regardless, I never felt eat/fuck/fun was my life purpose. Fun doesn't get me out of bed in the morning. (Eat, Fuck, Fun would've been a much better book than Eat, Pray, Love though.)
So I had no purpose as far as I knew. Often, I felt as if I was just killing time until life was over.
But the aforementioned conversation flicked a switch for me. My friend's words revealed some patterns in my behaviour. Then, when asked by someone else the following week what was my purpose, I magically had an answer. It was as if it had been subconsciously distilled.
First, to go through shit
Yep. That's the first part of why I'm here. I'm on earth to wade through an ocean of shit. Excellent. Naturally incapable of dealing with even basic human interaction and taught poorly from the start, I've had to work pretty hard just to function within a world filled with people.
Isolation, depression, loneliness. I've had tons of that.
The shit from the ocean I'm wading through doesn't have to be negative though. Big challenges that I take on willingly, like building a company, are also on the list of stuff I have to overcome.
And given my poor emotional nature contrasted with my general ambition, I'm sure there are plenty of challenges waiting. I'm a boxer who won't stay down. Life has certainly not held any punches so far, so there's no reason to think it'll get easier. Who knows what's coming? Death and disease. Success and failure.
And then to overcome it
I fight. I like to fight. I've jumped on the grave of plenty of life's challenges. And others, well, I may be fighting for the rest of my life. But I will overcome. In part, sometimes; in whole, others.
I will beat them. I will study the tactics. I will win the battles through immense effort. I will have "fun" doing it. And I will go through shit. Bring it on.
In the depths of the sadness that was my early-20s I remember being in bed, late for work again, thinking, "what are they going to do, fire me? They can't possibly make life any worse."
I was immune to unpleasantness. Maybe that's why I'm not afraid now. Whatever you got life - come at me, bro!
And then I will help others do the same
This is where it all makes sense.
Once on the other side, I will help those who stand where I stood. I will show them how I got through it and show them what's on the other side. Give hope where I can, and practical advice where it's needed. I will show them that if I can beat something, so can they.
I will lead the charge and in doing so improve the lives of many.
(I will sound arrogantly altruistic?)
Why I like this
I want to be clear this post is by no means a decision or declaration. It is only a thought.
And it's still a new thought, but it fits. Take this blog, for example. I wanted to write down all the shit I went through and how I dealt with it in the hopes it could help someone, somewhere.
Years ago, I created an app that helped me put my life in perspective and then spread it around to help others.
My favourite project at work is not made with code, but it's myself - becoming a better teammate and leader. I want to teach and pass along skills of all sorts, not only technical ones. The non-technical ones are far more interesting and valuable to me because they were so much harder to acquire myself. (And I will never be done.)
This purpose, as expressed here, is not grand or sexy. It's boots-on-the-ground. It's real and needed because a lot of us struggle. And if I can ease the struggle for some people some of the time, then suddenly all the shit I've gone through has its own purpose.
Suddenly, I'm up for the challenge. I don't need to be afraid to lose the good place I'm currently in. My life can be as terrible as it wants and it doesn't matter as long as some good will come from that. When I leave this life, I may have had an awful time but the world will have net benefitted.
Maybe I'm not God. Maybe I'm Jesus.
So let me ask you this: how can I help you, my child?