Of course you know the question, “Why am I here?” OR “What is my purpose in life?”
If you agree with this answer after honestly evaluating your personal situation, you don’t have to read any further. Have a good day!
“Wait a minute, that answer is too simple,” you object. “There must be more than those ten words to explain why I was born. I am important. I have a mission from God or my Maker. Don’t give me a sound bite to gloss over the event of my auspicious arrival to this incomprehensible world and my under-appreciated performance in it to date!”
I realize that the answer is terribly shocking to someone who hasn’t spent much time thinking about the question or hasn’t lived a full life until his or her retirement. But thank your Maker that you have this newly found wisdom. It will help you relax and enjoy the rest of your human life amongst others who are desperately striving to keep their places in the scheme of things.
Shall I go on? I don’t want to bore you, because only you can objectively examine your personal life and discover the truth in the answer I’ve found. Are you a professional athlete, musician, actor, accountant, clerk, cook, gardener, or just a humble wage earner? Or are you (as we used to say as kids when we skipped rope) a:
“Rich man, poor man, beggar man, thief,
Doctor, lawyer, merchant, chief.”
We have to do something in our life to earn our keep. In the beginning it was hunting and gathering. (If I had been born in prehistoric times I would have died young because I am so near-sighted that I couldn’t have found enough to eat nor shot the most unsuspecting animal with my bow and arrow.) And why do we still work, as we now call “earning a living?” Or “go to war?”
Because we don’t want anyone else to take “our” place – we must fill this unique position in time and space that we have spent all our lives striving to reach. This momentary locus that our consciousness has relentlessly struggled to attain. We have arrived at last, so we must defend our location in life and justify our devious course with all kinds of excuses, lies, and detailed reasons unimportant to anyone else but ourselves.
Such is the constant struggle to hang on to our little niche. Each human must do enough to hold the interest of his spouse, to satisfy his boss, and to keep the wolves from the door. What is “enough” depends on your ambitions, your desires, your greed, and your covetousness. Do you want a new and “better” job? A younger and prettier wife? A fancier car or a larger house? A drug that your body requires or your mind prefers? A face-lift, a breast enhancement, a hair transplant? Whatever it is, remember, it depends solely on you and your chosen lifestyle.
“I just want to hang out and do my thing,” you counter. But all those other people out there are in your way, trying hard to ease you out, take your job, replace your dreams with theirs, and dominate you. It’s still a jungle out there despite the politically correct conversation, the advertising hype and pleasantries, and the preaching from the pulpit.
You must ignore the misinformation, the exaggeration, and dishonest hyperbole. You must find a way to keep moving ahead on this path you have chosen to nowhere in particular. Towards a future, an immediate tomorrow, and a certain demise we prefer not thinking about seriously.
We think of ourselves as filling space in a vacuum that no one else can fill. Yet, in our hearts we know that there are many people who need a job, a help-mate, a place to call their own. We can’t help acknowledging that Nature abhors a vacuum and will fill your absence promptly, if less efficiently in your judgment.
How? You can never guess. Where does the oxygen for your next breath come from? The water for your next thirst-quenching drink? The energy for the next movement of your hand? The idea for your next comment? We don’t really know nor care about that until what we think we need is not available. And when the things that we need aren’t available, our light goes out.
“Good night, everyone,” isn’t our ultimate response until our last ounce of energy is expended, our money, credit, and insurance runs out, and the medical profession can’t do anything further for us. Until then we continue trying to compete in this world to maintain our noble place. And improve upon it if we so desire and long to do so.
Those old fogies who wear the outdated polyester clothing and drive those old cars have ceased struggling to catch the attention of the style conscious “modern generation,” who are quite aware of today’s fashions. The older generation doesn’t have sufficient motivation to become “hip.” They just want to stay alive a little while longer, doing what they have been doing – unhappy perhaps, but mostly resigned to their circumstances.
Society allows them this last privilege, at least for now. Tomorrow the younger generation is going to have to work more years before they qualify for Social Security and Medicare. But the time may come when the retirement option isn’t available at all. When there are so many mouths to feed on this planet that only the productive are given food and shelter. The rest will have to buy those things at outrageous prices or beg for hospice-type care.
Competition is the key, we say, for developing a healthy business climate, a successful company, and a prosperous country. And what is that based on? A “me first” orientation of the customer. Satisfy your customers’ needs with a quality product or service better than that offered by the competition. And at a reasonable price. All the criteria for better, cheaper, and longer lasting are introduced into the minds of the customer with motivational, manipulative, and humorous advertising. Consequently, we have to learn quickly how to compete successfully, and how to stay ahead of the others, who are pressing us for our coveted “spots” in line.
Sooner or later, however, we lose our spots in line and sometimes end up on the street. Then, if the safety nets of family, community, church, and government agencies all fail, we understand clearly why we are here. No one will be competing with us for those grimy places of the socially rejected. If we still have our sanity when we hit the pavement, we will learn about the consequences of letting someone else take our place. To avoid ending up homeless on the street, we must do “whatever it takes” to keep others from elbowing us out of our rightful, hard-earned places.
Now, admit it, that’s why we are here. And you knew the answer all the time, didn’t you?