For a lot of years, I've been haunted by a lack of direction. I have gone here, there, everywhere, never staying anywhere long enough to make any kind of difference. I've always wondered what the hell I'm "supposed" to be doing. I've wondered what my "something" is. I've wondered what my great contribution to the world should be. I've always thought that I should have some kind of career or some kind of goal in mind that I'm headed towards. And the fact that I haven't has caused me a lot of shame and self-reproach.
I'm gonna set my ego aside for a minute, and admit that the term "arrested development" could possibly describe me. Because the truth is I did stop interacting with the world in the way most other people do - especially, people my age, at the stage of life we're in. I've looked at my friends and family who are out in the world making their way, going to school, owning their own homes, in their relationships, out having fun, keeping jobs that they actually like. I've looked at them with both wonder and envy - mostly envy. Haha! It's easier to admit something like that now that I don't see things that way - but I did for a long time. I chose to observe people and notice what they had, that I was lacking - and then I used that as a reason to dislike, and feel sorry for, myself. I threw the self-pity trip out the window a long time ago. I'm very clear that happiness and success are inside jobs. Now, I've got nothing but gratitude for those loved ones, because really, everyone that I see and love who are out their doing their thing, are powerful guides showing me the way. I think that is what other people are for - to celebrate and to be inspired by. We are sent to one another to reveal that what one can do, we all can do.
I get that in my head. Intellectually, I'm in there, baby! But I've practiced these thoughts for so many years. I still hear the voice that says I should be doing what everyone else is doing. 27-year-olds shouldn't be living with their grandmothers; they shouldn't spend their days reading books, sitting in meditation, singing, or taking walks. There are more important things to be done.
But important to whom?
Important for what?
I have a dear friend that I've known for a lot of years. The other day, I listened as they cried and spoke about what they were afraid of - and I listened; all I did was listen. I listened to the feelings that were underneath their words. I listened - and when asked, I offered what I saw to be true. And hopefully, it made a difference. I can't speak for my friend, but for me, it was huge. I finally caught a glimpse of that so-called "purpose."
That day with my friend, I realized that being there with my friend WAS my purpose. To comfort my friend as best I could in their time of trouble - that was my purpose - no more, no less. I need to stop looking for some grand plan to hit me over the head. I need to stop thinking there are "shoulds" or shouldn'ts." I need to stop thinking that I have to cure cancer, reach the clarity of Sri Ramakrisha, or even become an accountant to be worthy of anything or to prove that I'm not a loser. I'm worthy because I exist - and that thought takes some getting used to. I sometimes fear that I'm wasting time, just floating.
Maybe I will find a "normal" path. Maybe I will do something great to impact the world - whatever the hell that could be, lol! It doesn't matter. The point is, until then, I'm doing what I do - and that's enough. It must be. The other will come in time...or it won't.
I think I should just stick to being the guy who comforts the friend and who does his best to stay present in the little moments and to find his purpose there. At the end of my life, if I can look back and see a strand of little moments like that, I think my time will not have been wasted; I trust that I'd be happy.
My social maturation process may have been abandoned for a time; my appreciation for life lessened - but evolution doesn't stop. Life mixes things up. Things can't drift or float forever. Our expansion can't be stifled for always - and I thank God for that.