One morning about a month and a half ago, I was taking a shower, getting ready for work. It had been a long and exhausting summer at work, and although I certainly enjoyed aspects of it, I felt that every moment of free time was consumed by my exhaustion. I was burnt out, and it was difficult for me to put time and energy toward the things that brought me alive. Some of my creative endeavors—one of them, writing—were falling to the wayside, and I began to feel like a robot whose sole task was to go to work every morning and come home, exhausted, every evening. It was a hopeless, numbing feeling, and I did not feel like I was living intentionally, wholeheartedly, or purposefully. This is one of the reasons that, in the shower that morning, I simply decided that I needed to quit my job. At least for a while.
I did all the calculations in my head, and in a practical sense, it seemed very doable for me to take at least the semester off work. In a more spiritual sense, I knew it would give me the time I needed to center and reconnect with myself, as well as focus on my creative projects—aka the things that make me come alive.
So that’s what I did.
My school schedule this semester is extremely convenient for cultivating creativity. I have an abundance of free time, which I am extremely grateful for, and which gives me the opportunity to live purposefully. Yes, there are afternoons that I spend sitting on the couch, watching Netflix. However, more often than not, I wake up in the morning with the feeling that the whole world is mine, and I make a mental list of potential things I could do to nourish my soul and express my creativity during the day.
When I began taking time off work, one of the first things I did was begin writing this blog. I have been writing all my life, and it has been one of my favorite hobbies and passions. I wanted to get back into it and to be consistent with it. Furthermore, I wanted to write about something that might help people. Of course, I’m no savior—I’m not claiming to be a “master of life” of any sort, because I have so much learning and growing to do, but everyone has something unique to offer. The words I write are one of my unique offerings to the world.
Aside from writing, spending time in nature has been an avenue for me to cultivate a creative and purposeful life. I walk among the trees, through meadows, and along streams, and my senses are overwhelmed by the life-giving energy that is emitted by the earth. When I fill myself with this energy, I feel a sort of clarity that helps me with whatever creative project I’m working on. It grounds and centers me.
I truly believe that the writing I’ve been doing is an aspect of my purpose in life. When I write, I don’t feel anxious or uneasy or bored. When I write, time flies. My heart is peaceful. I’m in the flow. This is what every human being should strive for.
At this point, you might be wondering, “what is my purpose in life?” Well, for one thing, it’s not necessarily something that can be pinpointed. It’s a process, not a category, meaning it is constantly evolving. Furthermore, you probably won’t find your purpose by relentlessly searching for it. Rather, it’s something that comes to you in pieces throughout your life. I have no idea where my life will lead me or where I will be in twenty years. All I can do is follow my natural instincts, interests, and desires; continue to center myself; and live in a way that is creative and giving. All I can do is follow the constantly evolving path before me.
Of course, a little bit of soul searching is a great way to become aware of the things that make you come alive. One of my very favorite techniques for soul searching is making three lists: “Who am I?” “What do I want?” and “What are my unique gifts and talents?” You can read more about these lists in this article. Although a life purpose isn’t something you necessarily find by searching for it, making these lists is a great way to embark on a path that will help your spirit grow immensely. It’s incredibly important to become aware of who we are, what we want, and what our unique gifts are—especially if we want to be able to live in a way that is creative, purposeful, and joyful.
My personal decision to take time off work was an important event on my path because it gave me the time, energy, and freedom to think about who I was, what I wanted, and what my unique gifts were. It still is important to me, because I’m still contemplating these things. Not everyone can quit their job to spend time on creative endeavors; however, everyone can find a way to make time to engage in activities that make them come alive, and everyone can make time to do some important soul searching. This is the first step in living purposefully. Nobody should be living like a robot, whose sole purpose is to go to work every morning and come home, exhausted, every evening.