If a man is not on a journey towards a thing, that upon reaching it would satisfy him forever, he will clutch at straws trying to occupy his mind. He will wander here and there looking for a respite for his mind. - Anonymous
Finding my purpose
Everyone needs direction, purpose, but not everyone has the luxury of knowing what that may be. Some find it young and spend their life in pursuit of it, others make goals and this becomes their direction.
I spent thirty nine years not having a clue. I would use others for direction, create lacklustre goals and generally mope about too frustrated that my real purpose was never revealed to me.
Well, it did ... eventually.
Writing career summary;
Between 10-13 - I wrote several books, including a magazine about cricket. I would spend my holidays on the home computer, all day, just to write a story.
Between 17-19 - I tried writing books again, started a course and produced three unfinished works.
19-20 – I wrote poetry, which nobody gave a shit about, including me at the time.
26-27 – Unsuccessful blogging career.
33 – after the crash I'm once again inspired to write and I start writing a book called Destiny. I had no idea writing was my purpose in life at this stage, I just knew that I wanted to publish a book. I wanted to finish something that I started and not have it end up like all my other previous mentioned attempts.
This time was different, I knew from the onset that this attempt wouldn't fall by the wayside as so many others had, it would be done because the decision became so resolute in my mind.
It may have taken me far longer than expected (five years in fact) but I dedicated myself to writing 3 to 4 nights a week on a novel I had no idea about. When I started it I had no concept of the plot, who the characters were going to be or how it would end.
This first (finished) piece of my writing took five years (and turned into 2 books). It was a hellish journey and one that got me no praise, aside from the accomplishment of having finished it. To be honest, I really like the book - I just don't think anyone else did.
It was a learning curve and for me sometimes the best way to learn is by making mistakes.
39 – Finally realized what I wanted to do in life.
This is no joke.
Kids are raised with questions like ‘what are you going to do with your life?’ or ‘what do you want to be when you grow up?’ The answers tend to be very generic, entirely based on their upbringing. As a child I wanted to become a pilot, not cause I was interested in flying but because I thought pilots were cool.
The problem with me finding my purpose was that nothing ever interested me, nothing ever held my attention for more than five minutes. I tried many careers, exploring I.T, accounting, scuba diving, boat captain, travel guide, bar manager, retail manager, salesman, pet consultant, petrol specialist, ok I better stop … the point is that no matter what I explored I didn’t want to do any of them, my heart wasn't in it.
And for some dumb reason that process took me thirty nine years to figure out … and what did I come back to? What did I decide, in all my wisdom, what I finally wanted to do with my life ... writing, I wanted to be a writer.
I felt like such an idiot.
But, in saying that, I do believe that whilst I have avoided my calling for so long I have been gathering that very thing that writers are famous for – knowledge and depth of experience. With age come wisdom.
If I could offer any advice for those seeking purpose it would be this - Be patient and never stop looking, when it is meant to be, it will be.
The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page - St Augustine
I should have written the title of this section the other way round, for that is exactly what I believe it is. Travel is to the mind as food is to the body. (I’m sure I just paraphrased somebody else’s quote.)
I’d travelled before as a younger person, but it was eight years since I’d left Australia and the travel universe was calling me to its shores once again.
Thanks to a friend getting married I broke my international hiatus and found myself in Bangkok for a week, the first of more than a dozen trips to Thailand. Something was different on this trip, as opposed to all the others. I wasn't sure if the crash had made me see clearer, or if age helped me to appreciate more ... either way I had a blast.
Our entomology suggests that before the onset of agriculture, we humans were nomadic. Living and moving through the seasons on that land we were established in. Winter we’d move south, summer north. We went where there was food and hospitable conditions and got to know the land, our caretaker.
By modern day expressions nothing has changed, although many have forgotten this need. For me travel brought out in me the very essence of what I mentioned in my last post; Everything is new, the mind is open, engaged and the feeling of being a child once again returns.
I was fortunate enough to visit Thailand, Laos and Cambodia on my first trip abroad after the crash ; the last few days of the trip, in Laos, I remember sitting on a boat, cruising along the Mekong when a feeling of belonging washed over me. I was where I was meant to be, doing what I was meant to be doing, and very soon I promised I would return to Asia.
I had no idea of the ramifications of the promise.
I’ll leave you with one last quote, something that gnawed at my subconscious as I returned back to Australia and back to work.
If you think adventures are dangerous, try routine : It's lethal. - Paulo Coelho.