By: Mariel Boldis
What if my version of a mediocre life was someone else’s dream for purpose?
By posing this question, I am opening the doors to the uncomfortable uncertainties of life—the “what ifs” and the “grass is greener on the other side” concept we all dabble with in our minds. I ponder the idea of purpose and living mindfully which mean different things for each of us. For some, a life full of travel is a cause for stress and mediocrity; while for others, travel could feel like the ultimate purpose. This really is all a matter of perception based on our hopes, dreams, and goals.
As humans, we have big dreams in life. We seek the ultimate satisfaction to quench our thirst for success and happiness, but sometimes we get a sour taste in our mouths instead. Sometimes things don’t go according to our plans and we fall off the track wondering where the heck the train even went. This is where things get tough. This is where we fall into depression, and lose faith in ourselves because when we are living the life we hardly imagined, all we do is dig deeper and deeper into the hole we didn’t realize we were digging.
Even while we are digging into this hole, there is a reason we all don’t just throw our hands up in the air and quit life in a mass suicide. Most of us would say
A.) We have a purpose for living even when the reasons are small.
B.) We just wouldn’t have the guts to end our lives to begin with.
After all, there is more we could possibly do to change our circumstances. Wouldn’t you agree?
To put all of this in real life perspective, I put my life out there as an example. In my dreams I imagine myself traveling all over the world with a mission to help and make a difference in people’s lives with my writing. I imagine living the simple life in a small town in a place like Greece with the loves in my life—my man, my dog, my black tea, my computer to type, and the fresh air and blue skies of the outdoors. My living would come from my passions for writing, photography, and a small business in the hallmark card type industry. I wouldn’t be swimming in debt, I wouldn’t need to drive everywhere, and I definitely wouldn’t feel as if the pressures of what society expects to be weighing me down every day.
Yup, those are my dreams.
Through my journey, I’m questioning the validity of the happiness imagined through my ideals, my definition of living mediocrely, and the direction I need to go in to live with the purpose I desire. Here are 5 things I have learned along the way that have helped me get closer to answering these questions for myself.
5 Hard Lessons Learned While Searching For Purpose in Life
1. I already live with purpose. Even though I’m not in Morocco or Venice doing the things I dream of, my basic needs for purpose are already being fulfilled in my everyday reality. I already write for you guys in hopes of showing you we are NOT alone in our struggles. I already have a purpose in helping others with the friendships I nourish through coffee dates, girls nights, and my presence to listen and actively nurture the trust we build together. I already have a man who loves me and shares our joys and discomforts together. I already sit outside and let the sunshine hit my face and enjoy a good cup of chai when I can. I already do so much to feed my hunger for purpose that I just need to realize and not forget it when I begin to thirst for a more “perfect life.”
2. True happiness is not found in tangibles. My perceptions of the happiness conveyed through my dreams feel real because I’m associating finding happiness and fulfillment through tangibles. Through life experiences, I have found that happiness is not found in things, people, places, or adventures but at the core of our being.
This gets tough though, because although things, people, places, and adventures bring us a sense of happiness and purpose, the bottom line is realizing what we have right now in this very moment is absolutely perfect as it is. When we can sit with the wondrous beauty already right in front of us, we won’t feel the sorrow of the imperfections and flaws we see in our lives. Looking out at greener pastures with longing robs us of the happiness we can feel today. Just remember, a greener pasture doesn’t mean the dirt isn’t going to follow.
3. The more I think about tomorrow, the more I miss out on today. On days when I feel like I have a plan ready for action, I tend to focus all of my energies on what I have to do next. This process gets exhausting and I have come to find my plan of action doesn’t pan out the way I intend for it to go. Sometimes I get negative results, sometimes positive results, and sometimes I never even finish, but the point is that I focus so much on the next thing to do, I hardly stop to take a breath of air to say “thank you” for today. This is important because when we are moving forward, staying grounded in the present moment will keep us from feeling like” life is over” when we inevitably get knocked down.
4. My definition of mediocrity is really code for: I need to appreciate more. In my mind I think, “If I have to work a 9 to 5 job all my life, then my life is mediocre” or “if I raise a kid before I finish college, then my life is mediocre.” My mind is affirming my internal dialogue with falsities. What I would consider a mediocre lifestyle is someone else’s life long purpose. To think my own life is mediocre if things pan out this way is an uncalled bashing of others in self-righteousness. There is no such thing as mediocrity if we can see the awesomeness of what we have today. I have learned when we put our best foot forward to make things happen, we also need to let go of the control to make them happen. Sometimes it’s beyond us, and when we appreciate the life we have today, we can appreciate the journey towards tomorrow more. Remember you have the power to change your circumstances towards a better life that works for you, but don’t expect those changes to make your life more or less than mediocre. Appreciation and gratitude is what makes it beyond great.
5. Keep dreaming big. As I get older, my dreams change but my life’s purpose remains the same. I hope to help and make a difference with one step at a time, and I’m already creating the footprints along the path. Dreaming big helps us see what we truly want out of life. Fulfilling our purposes start with the inner self by listening to what our mind, body, and spirit needs. I may not be halfway across the world right now as I have imagined, but I am writing this in a place of happiness, purpose, and fulfillment. When I’m down in the dumps, I remember that I am not off the tracks searching for a train long gone, but I am forging another path off the beaten road. Keep dreaming big and appreciate today’s realities, because in the end, “our story” is already full of purpose.
Your journey is your own
Although it has taken me a long time to learn and apply these lessons, I still have trouble with feeling as if I lack purpose. I still wake up afraid my life won’t be “amazing” sometimes, but I never said I was perfect. However, it is in these lessons that I have been able to pick up my feet more and bounce back from difficulties with an extra pep in my step.
Looking back, I already know I would never go back into my past and do things differently in certain situations. Because without those times in my life, I wouldn’t be sitting here right now with a grin on my face knowing no matter what happens, it’s going to be all right. Life is amazing right now—not mediocre, not half-assed, and certainly not easy. It is amaze-balls. Have you woken up today and realized that yet?
Mariel Boldis is a 20-something young adult living in the city with a big country heart. Learning through life’s growing pains, she is in search of making the most out of life with a happy heart and a simplistic lifestyle. You can find her regularly blogging over at Project Simple Life where she shares her wisdom on life, happiness, simple living, and minimalism in hopes of making a difference in the lives of others. Culled from Owning Pink Blog.