I know this post is a little off topic but I have reached a point in my life where I feel like I need to find my purpose; my reason to exist in this world. It is a funny corner to turn, when you’ve been living most of your life without any thought of what the decisions you make in your life might do for your future. I recently read an article featuring an open letter that Hunter S. Thompson wrote to answer what he thought the meaning of life was, and I found it very poignant at this stage in my life.
As I see it then, the formula runs something like this: a man must choose a path which will let his ABILITIES function at maximum efficiency toward the gratification of his DESIRES. In doing this, he is fulfilling a need (giving himself identity by functioning in a set pattern toward a set goal), he avoids frustrating his potential (choosing a path which puts no limit on his self-development), and he avoids the terror of seeing his goal wilt or lose its charm as he draws closer to it (rather than bending himself to meet the demands of that which he seeks, he has bent his goal to conform to his own abilities and desires).
In short, he has not dedicated his life to reaching a pre-defined goal, but he has rather chosen a way of life he KNOWS he will enjoy. The goal is absolutely secondary: it is the functioning toward the goal which is important. And it seems almost ridiculous to say that a man MUST function in a pattern of his own choosing; for to let another man define your own goals is to give up one of the most meaningful aspects of life — the definitive act of will which makes a man an individual.
You can read the full letter HERE
I hope you find something inspiring from it too.
Yesterday I celebrated by 30th Birthday. Even just saying “30” seems like me and that number just don’t go together. There are many stereotypes surrounding turning 30 and that suddenly things are “all down hill from here” but I still feel as young as I did when I was 20. I am very much wiser, confident and brave, but I certainly don’t feel old. I even looked in the mirror yesterday when I woke up to find the slightest wrinkles forming around the outer corners of my eyes and I was like, “WOAH!”
I think there is a stigma surrounding getting older. When I was in my early 20’s thinking about being 30 gave me an odd feeling in my stomach. How would it feel? What would I be doing in my life at that time? I imagined that I would be living in another country shooting documentary photography, raising awareness about a cause that was important to me.
Well, let me tell you something. At 20 my life was very uncertain, I valued different things than I do now. I think at 30 I can comfortably say, “What you see, is what you get.” With Age you start to understand how fast it flies by and there is one thing that money can’t buy and that is more time. I’m certainly not living in a different country but that feeling of traveling the world are still strong feelings I have and I have no doubt that those things will happen in time.
I learned in my 20’s that you don’t have to take too much risk to see great returns. Maybe I have been terribly lucky but in my 20’s I took quite a few leaps of faith; leaps that felt like I was falling and incredibly unstable; until I landed.
One of my nearest and dearest friends told me, “Everything will be fine, it always is.” I believe I have lived by that and told myself that in my head whenever things have begun to look unstable. There will be bumps in the road, that is something you will have to accept. Losing loved ones, tripping on your shoelace, being broke, and losing friends will all happen but it is your reaction to those events that will tell you who you are. I can’t express this enough. Making decisions about what bumps in your life that will deserve an emotional response play a huge role in your happiness. Being upset for even a minute about something small like dropping a cup of water when you could respond by laughing at yourself and cleaning up the mess are major steps to a happier life. I have reacted in anger to silly things throughout my whole life and it isn’t worth it. I now know that if I would just laugh instead of yell at my own forgetfulness life is a much happier trail to walk down. I had to leave the comfort of my hometown and the job I had for years to live in a city that I’ve fallen in love with to learn this lesson. Mistakes happen everyday. Last year I left my 40 hour a week job at a bank to pursue a life that I would feel happy with. There were months of uncertainty but during those months that I was unemployed I started this blog and dedicated myself to making things. Risk = Reward(Unless its the, “Go to the beach and not wear any sunscreen when you know you burn” type of risk). I had patience and determination to find a different job that I would love, and it wasn’t easy. Now I have a job in photography that I love and I work with an amazing team of artists.
My 20’s were for exploration, getting wiser and settling into my own skin. My 30’s are going to RULE. Being wiser has its benefits.