finding purpose

I like my employ­er, and I like my new career as a soft­ware tester, and though I strive to be excel­lent, when I leave work, I do my best not to think about it until the next day. I’ll some­times try to learn a new skill or read a book relat­ed to soft­ware test­ing, or write a blog post, but soft­ware test­ing is not what gives me pur­pose in life.

I grew up think­ing I was going to be excep­tion­al. Maybe every kid does. Maybe it’s my gen­er­a­tion. And though I’m a lit­tle dis­ap­point­ed that I’m not run­ning the world or mak­ing a wide­ly known name for myself, I’m real­ly hap­py with the life I’ve built. My mar­riage is near­ly per­fect — we have sim­i­lar goals, com­ple­men­tary inter­ests, a gen­uine enjoy­ment of con­ver­sa­tion and com­pan­ion­ship with each oth­er, and a desire to see the oth­er one suc­ceed and be hap­py. I’ve found sol­id friends and fun groups to be around. I am get­ting bet­ter at singing and am tru­ly enjoy­ing it. I always have a project or two going, usu­al­ly knit­ting. I’m very involved at church and am try­ing to get more involved in my com­mu­ni­ty. I’ve tak­en up rock climb­ing. My depres­sion is most­ly kept at bay, though some days, it’s hard to get out of bed.

But is this my pur­pose in life? I hope I bring joy to oth­ers, I think I inspire peo­ple in some way, and I’m pret­ty hap­py right now, so is this what I can hope to achieve? I try not to be self­ish, though that is my nature, and I can be rather self-indul­gent some (a lot) of the time. I’ve been look­ing into iki­gai and hygge — it seems that a lot of peo­ple are seek­ing pur­pose (and con­tent­ment) in life. I don’t have one all-con­sum­ing pas­sion that makes me hap­py to get out of bed (and pays me), but I do have rit­u­als and lit­tle things that bring mean­ing to every­day life.

This is a hard con­cept for me. My life is pret­ty ordi­nary viewed from the out­side, I think, but it feels spe­cial from the inside.

Where do you find pur­pose? How do you define it?

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