Sunday, June 5, 2011

Purpose is...what, exactly?

After going to the bookstore and browsing through the self help section, I have concluded that the self help word of the day is “Purpose.” A life with purpose, a purpose in your faith, lose weight with purpose and assorted other purpose filled books were hanging off the shelves.

I’m not sure what that word means anymore. The last time I was accused of doing something “on purpose” was when my little sister said that I overfed her goldfish “on purpose” so they would go quickly to the great fishbowl in the sky. I never really associated the word “purpose” for anything that good. And after reading through a few of those purpose driven texts I can confidently say that trying to remind yourself to do anything with “purpose” is absolute, utter nonsense. Here’s why:

A purpose filled life implies that you have a goal to achieving and meaning within the course of achievement. Guess what, kids? Sometimes, you lose sight of that goal and become engrossed in the meaning comes from being able to survive work, bills, and another day of worry.

And you know what? That’s enough “purpose” for all of us most days. And that’s just fine.

Living doesn’t have to rest on such ethereal heights. The good days that I’ve ever had are ones that are spent in the moment. The purpose of those days is to enjoy the way the sun hits the window, the way my shoes fit on my feet or the fact that my car starts the first time I turn the key.

My purpose for life today is living one day at a time, no matter what the days challenges may be. My purpose is that I know some of this life will recede from me and I will still meet each day hopeful that this day will be better than the last. That I remain positive in the face of upset, calm in the presence of upheaval.

Purpose. The word makes me squirm a little. I hear it and I feel that I’m failing something, fallings short in a part of my life I didn’t realize was supposed to be pursued or achieved or require meaning. I now hear the word “purpose” and I feel I’m not measuring up.

I am fine living the way I am. I find that I am content with who I am and how I’m living this life for today. Just today, I will try to make amends for the hurts I’ve offered, repair the injuries I have caused either willfully or by accident. I will focus as best I can on the positive in people and refrain judgment. I will complete as much work as I am able and then find time to enjoy some stillness of the evening. I will find one thing that makes me laugh and remember one thing that reminds me about love. And I will repeat this process as often as it comes to mind.

My purpose? To live each day, and only each day, as best I can, without too much concern of the future. I hope you find this your purpose, too. Ed McShane - Happy Scribbles, Inc.


  1. There is a lot of wisdom in this seemingly simple essay! Thank you for sharing your thoughts with your readers. Hope you continue to write. We look forward to reading your creations.

  2. Hi Ed,

    This is Glad :) I see people running around in circles trying to achieve their purpose, only to get tired of the running and while pausing for a short while because they can't keep running anymore, realizing that life has gone by without appreciating it. Gone are the moments they could have played with their kids because they were too busy making a living, gone are the moments having fun and laughing because they were too worry about retirement. I'm not saying not to work or have goals but have them as a reference of where you would like to end up, not as an obsession of where you must be. You are right on, each day lived without rushing but taking it in, with it's ups and downs, and appreciating the simple things life brings is what it's all about :)

  3. Wonderful piece of work! Nice essay.
    Please keep it up!