My decade-long college best friend and I had our usual mulling-over-life conversation last night over cheesecake doughnuts in a cold Krispy Kreme cafe. As usual, we took turns in venting out and listening to each other’s dreams and frustrations. Our four-hour heart-to-heart talk covered topics on family trials, financial challenges, career dilemmas, midlife crisis, ikigai, and whatnot.
You see, we both have pinpointed our true passion (career-wise) a little too late: a time when we have basically finished college and have been working for years. Add to that is the fact that we both face complicated hindrances to pursue such goals. And frankly, it feels like we have been squandering half of our lives with aimless distractions, leaving us in a vortex of overwhelming uncertainty.
I used to think that uncertainty is the most dismal obstacle to face since the dark path and bleak future give birth to fear. Right now, I’m close to hitting 30 and the fear of not amounting to something is looming at the door. How come all the years of diligent schooling end up in a job that crushes the soul? Why did I just find out what I want to do now? Do we have enough time and resources to pursue it? These are just some of the questions that run through our minds.
However, not long ago, stories of people who find their true calling and achieve great success at the age of 40 have been becoming quite popular; and these experiences didn’t fail to bring hope and encouragement.
At the same opportune time, watching the movie Once made me realize that uncertainty, being a mystery that it is, actually pushes us to solve the puzzle. More than just a period of risk and danger, uncertainty is a timely pause to reevaluate our chosen course, and redirect it if need be. The beauty of the unknown is in the depths of its infinite possibilities.
The existentialist mantra “existence precedes essence” by French Philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre conveys that life is how we make it. That until we are born, we are of no value whatsoever. It rejects any higher power and puts the focus on the individual and his capacity to build his life out of the two raw materials presented to him, existence and opportunity. But even though shaping one’s own destiny is a valid perspective, we cannot simply deny that there is a predetermined Plan that precedes physical birth. And for most of us, we hold on to this conviction to brush aside the pangs of fear.
In the final analysis, it is always going to boil down on how we have lived our lives. On how hard we have searched for the silver lining and gracefully risen up to the occasion. And when uncertainty lurks behind the shadows, it is always faith that keeps us from completely succumbing to despair that can so easily engulf our tired, weary hearts.
Daily Prompt: Purpose
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