Our lives begin from the womb and ends in the tomb. However, none of that matters. What matters is the in-between. How do we live the life that was handed down to us? How do we know that we have fulfilled our purpose in life once we are almost at the end?
We are carried in the womb for nine months, some even less. For those nine months, the people around us anticipate our arrival to the world. Promises are made even before we are born – the promise to be cherished, to be loved, to be given everything we need and some even what we want. For those first months of our lives until we are born, I think our purpose is to give purpose to the people around us. Once fulfilled, that would mean that we are ready to meet the world.
Then we are born. We continue with our purpose for the first few years in life. Our parents, especially, are always given a purpose for living. Each time they see us, they are reminded of their own purpose. To ensure that we are living the kind of life that we are supposed to live. They are our guardians, our mentor, our protector.
Through our first years in life, we learn skills that we need in our journey called life. We develop our own thoughts, we show our own emotions, we start to learn the language that everyone around us uses. We are handed down the necessary tools that we need in our journey. And yet given all that, we are not handed down the purpose on why we need it. At some point, we become the amusement of the people around us.
We reach our teenage years. We start questioning the reason for living. The usual “Who am I?” question is asked and we try to define who we really are based on what we feel, how we are raised, what we want in life. Do we really know? Do we define our purpose? Or is there already a defined purpose out there that someone missed out handing down to us? We start experimenting with our own identities, rebelling against authorities, following so-called leaders, just to try finding who we are.
Early adulthood comes so fast. We haven’t truly found ourselves just yet but we are already aligning with what society, tradition and culture dictates. Get a degree, find a job, have a family, settle down and live the kind of life our parents lived. Some are pressured during these times, some takes it lightly and lives by the day, and a few are quite oblivious to these expectations. Are these expectations our purpose? Maybe, maybe not. We are forced to decide to be who we are supposed to be against who we need to be. And yet more often than not, we find ourselves being a part of the statistics – an employed family person who settled down because <insert reason here>.
Do we really know why we settled down? Do we really like the job we have currently? Have we ever thought long and hard what we really want in life and how we want it to happen? I would be surprised if someone out there haven’t even wondered how their lives turned out have they followed a different path – something that they have really wanted to pursue but did not for a million reasons.
Then comes middle age. If during teenage years, we try to define who we are based on how we are taught, during the middle ages, we start to ask ourselves, “is this who I really wanted to be? Is this what I really wanted?” Kind of late to be asking ourselves this question, isn’t it? And yet, we all go through this, I think. No matter what our standing in life might be, we start to wonder how we got ourselves in our current situation. Are we living the kind of life we have defined based on what we were taught in our early years, are we living the life based on impulsive choices, or are we living the sole purpose of why we are living in the first place? How do we know? During these times, some decides to just accept the fact that they are tied to their current situation while a few tries to break away and do something else, be someone else.
And then we grow old. We start looking back at all those years behind us. Some wonders how they survived the kind of life they started out with, some realizes that their lives are fulfilled; some regrets the choices they have made while some wonders how they have survived all the trials and tribulations that came along. Do we realize the real purpose of why we are here? Does our purpose still matter at this stage? Or have we found out that we have found our real purpose regardless of how we lived our lives?
We start to hand down the next generation a legacy, a testament of our lives, the wisdom we gained. And then we hope and pray that the next generation would not commit the mistakes that we made in the past, that they will make the right decisions based on what their purpose is, that they will create a life that they will never regret in the end.
So comes the end. People around us remember us on how they got to know us all through our lives. Some may have come to see us in a negative light; some may see us as a blessing in their lives, while some would not really care. Do we know what we want everyone to see in our epitaph? At this point, I don’t. All I know is that we have a purpose to fulfill in every stage of our lives and it is up to us to fulfill it or not even if we don’t know what that purpose really is.
It is the in betweens that really matter and not how we started out or how we expired. We don’t just get borne into the world and then go through all the motions before we die. We go through life discovering things, enjoying what this tiny world has to offer, deciding which path to take once we reach a crossroad, creating our own destiny regardless of the circumstances. With that said, life is all about the journey – not about the start and how it will end.