I’ll be 70 in a few months, so don’t worry about being the oldest.
So, your primary source of unhappiness is lack of purpose. Humans don’t come into the world “pre-loaded” with purpose, other than the basic one we all have. I’ll say more on that in a bit. It’s more like looking at a menu and deciding what, among the available options, you want. Some people are fortunate. Their aptitude in a specific area urges them to align their purpose with it. Others are like me, with diverse interests, and it’s difficult to remain interested in any one thing. Here I am retired, and still have the feeling that I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.
The upside of that is that I can still find new things to be interested in, and choose that pursuit to be my purpose. The reality is, humans are made to have multiple purposes and interests. Some people shovel shit all day, in order to fulfill their chosen purpose during non-working hours. A huge number of musicians do that.
It’s important to realize that purpose comes by choice. There is a basic purpose we all share, but when it comes to how we make our living, or express ourselves, it’s not automatic or pre-destined. Even talents and aptitudes change or evolve over time, therefore it’s a good thing we can choose another purpose when we need to, that more closely aligns with the person we’re becoming.
The over-arching purpose - the reason we exist is to share love. That’s accomplished in countless ways. Invest love and integrity in your work, which is evidence that you care for those who’ll receive your work product. If your interest involves art, expressing it shares love with yourself and others. Many years ago, I was a janitor at a high school. The students loved me, and often came to talk to me about their problems. In that situation, my purpose was to clean toilets and help students navigate the changes they were going through.
Talking, and more importantly, listening to people has been a theme and purpose throughout my career, regardless if I was rebuilding an engine, cutting down trees, or sweeping floors.
Providing supportive interaction, regardless of the setting is a noble purpose. Someone once wrote, “just as you can’t whistle while chewing crackers, you can’t be depressed while sharing love.” I’m not sure if that’s entirely true, but in my experience, caring about and for others took my mind off my troubles, and a sense of fulfillment also offset my depressing thoughts.
For five years, I worked as a security guard in a steel mill. The mill workers hated the guards. One of them tried to kill me. Every single day before I left for work, my wife would say, “be a light.” Initially, that exhortation seemed ridiculous, but over time, it lingered in my thoughts more and more. I worked on accepting the workers’ hostility without reflecting it. I became genuinely respectful, regardless of their attitudes. I just kept thinking about being a light.
The relationship between the guards and workers transformed. I didn’t really take notice while it was gradually happening, but by the time I left, it was a safe place to work, and I was sorry to go.
Was my purpose to be a security guard, or “be a light?”
Sometimes purpose will gently tap you on your shoulder. Sometimes your heart will inspire you. Sometimes purpose calls to us while we are pursuing a different one.
You are free to make choices, and change your mind when it seems like it’s the right thing to do.
You are a light. With whom shall you share yourself?