If there’s a single advice you can give me with the knowledge you acquired with your age, what would it be? I asked my coworker, one whom I consider a friend now. Without hesitation, she simply told me to “Trust your heart with everything. Don’t do something you don’t want to do.” Her words inspired me to take a step back and refocus my direction. As I center myself, I felt a little bit more whole. I quickly grabbed my notepad and wrote her words. Now bringing me here, to you, writing this.
Lately, I have been wondering the purpose I am meant to serve. What am I meant to do? What will be the legacy that I leave– one that will produce absolute bliss. It’s one of the most basic questions people ask themselves when they reflect about their life, of course, who doesn’t want to feel profound happiness? In today’s society, our priorities are shifting into making a living instead of actually living. Working endless shifts to pay for superficial gains rather than investing the same time and energy on a worthy goal that brings a more permanent pleasure. As I think about my friend’s words, I think about the things that I prioritize in my life, it should be parallel to the things that I’m passionate about, and ultimately, that should serve as my purpose.
I feel like there is an unspoken pressure my generation is feeling in finding our ultimate purpose at a prime age. There should be something more than just a 9 to 5 job. Yet we get lost in the sauce and we tend to focus too much, if not all of our energy on obtaining frivolous information or things just to make a little living to pay for things that are neither spiritually, mentally, nor emotionally enriching. We misconstrue our supposed purpose with a job. The difference between the two are substantial. Purpose is something one couldn’t help but do, just like a bee’s purpose is to pollinate. It’s something that they are meant to do, and they couldn’t help but to do it. A passion deep rooted with a burning desire, the feel of needing. We should realize that this should be something we have to genuinely think about for it will be something that will serve as our ultimate life’s work. A portfolio of our living– one that will serve as our legacy. Purpose should not be something that you choose, it’s something that chooses you. (I know that’s corny, but I couldn’t help it.)
A few nights ago, I went on a dinner date with my roommate and her friend who’s visiting from Italy. My roommate, whom above all I consider a great confidante of mine, asked me about my plans moving forward now that I’m staying here in the east coast. Over dinner, she asked if I am still going through nursing school. I told her that that’s the plan. She questioned why I’m not pursuing my original degree in journalism if that’s where my passion lies. I explained to her that in the long term, nursing school will serve as a source to be able to provide for my future endeavors in writing. In this path, some are fortunate enough to be able to balance their pleasures alongside with their careers, while some are less fortunate and are regretful of their chosen paths. Coming from a Filipino household, it is stereotypically expected for us to either get into college for nursing, engineering, or anything that’s academically challenging.
A handful of us struggle with the intention to pursue an unorthodox road, with the fear of failure. After making it clear that writing will always be something that I would do. Something that I wouldn’t be able to stop. She gave me her opinion, she said that it’s even the more reason for me to just pursue this dream. I thought about the experiences that I’ve gained along with my knack in writing and how together they can serve as MY purpose. After dinner, we walked along the boardwalk overlooking the city’s skyline. As I admire the view, I took a look back at the decisions I have been making up to this point. I’m in limbo.
I recall to something I read from The Law of Success by Napoleon Hill, about a man who sells peanuts all day, “he is selling peanuts because he is a drifter on the sea of life, and one of the tragedies of his work is the fact that the same amount of effort that he puts into it, if directed along other lines, would bring him much greater returns.” The main thought that underlies my friend’s advice. If I were to put the same energy and effort into something, might as well it be on something that I have deep desire to achieve from. Might as well have it serve as a purpose bigger than selfish gains.
As I weigh the pros and cons of my final decision, I think about what my friend told me. I closed my eyes and trusted my heart.