Somehow I entered an intensive course of what many of us do for years: give the answer to ” what I want to do with my life “. This question presupposes that, if we find an ideal job, we will be happy, full, and make sense of our life.
You have to stop to think about all the implications of this way of understanding the meaning of life. Thinking like this catapults us to look for ” what to do “, and defines us by our activity. That is not at all bad: it is not the same as our activity being ” hired killer ” than ” curing cancer “, but somehow it takes us away from success in the matter of leading a meaningful life in the here and now , day after day.
And if you discover that the activity that makes you happy is to be a surf instructor but you have three children and live in Cuenca? What if your happy activity is to meditate ten hours a day and not pay the rent? I make a reduction to the absurd to illustrate something that happens to all of us: it is not always possible to dedicate our lives to a single activity that is the garden and fruit of our joys.
Although we decided to be ” supermotivated ” and turn our lives upside down to ” follow our hearts and live our dreams “, maybe it will be five or ten years until we can get to be that person we dream of being today. Maybe even when we get there, we don’t like being a surf instructor so much because we have arthritis. Or maybe the Zen monastery of our dreams has no WiFi …
I don’t know if I explain myself, but what I’m trying to tell you is that trying to solve the meaning of our life through ” what to do ” is a matter full of traps. Of course, let’s pursue the activities that make us happy, but to condition all our emotional well-being and inner happiness to ” I will only be happy if I do X, Y, Z “, is to negotiate against us. It is to set a trap and too many conditions.
Turn over and change perspective
After six months ruminating ” what to do” and not reaching any conclusion, we had a car accident, also in Tanzania, during a safari. This time my reaction was not to evaluate my life, it was to jump out of the car and dedicate myself 100% to get us all out of there alive. I never felt more useful, more alive, fuller. After several tequilas and a few days of post-traumatic relaxation, I found the answer to the question he had asked me long before.
Three letters: be .
Being comes before doing. We all have a series of qualities, or values, that give meaning to our life day and day as well, regardless of what we do. For my personal case it is to be a communicator, creative, adventurous, free, to be sincere and authentic, to be generous. In my ” accident moment “, I found sense in helping, in taking risks, in giving my all for my friends without thinking of me.
As in the evaluation of the machete, I did it without wanting, without thinking, without spending three days meditating ” what do I want to do with my life ” and go to seven courses to find my inner constellation. It was just me, giving everything, without worrying about getting into a car leaking fuel to help. What was inside me, came out without restrictions.
I was a little silly and reckless, but I was happy. More than happy: my existence on the planet counted for something. Something clicked on my system. I found sense in who I was , in what I was giving of myself, in the meat I was putting on the grill.
Live in your being
When I fail to be my best self, it doesn’t matter if I am doing what I like to do the most, I am failing my essence, my true sense of life. I immediately become a gray person.
Hasn’t this ever happened to us? That ” everything in my life is going well but something is missing .”
It has happened to me many times: to dedicate my time to what I like most but still feel lost. That happens because my ” being ” is disengaged. Maybe I am traveling and making music but I am not connecting with other people, or I am not being honest about what I really need, or I am not giving anything of myself to others. I am denying the values and attitudes that give meaning to my life , and therefore my activity is irrelevant.
Also, doesn’t it happen to us sometimes that we are surrounded by problems but we are happy? There are times when everything is against us but we are being the best version of ourselves, and we eat the world.