As I write this, I’m surrounded by crocheted squares, motifs of dubious looking animals, and test pieces. Hopefully they will fall into place sooner or later – except for the animals that look too miserably deformed – and form a big, medieval-inspired tapestry. Which I will then send to Washington, DC to be exposed in an art show my friend is organizing.
Why? Because I can. Because she asked me, and I said ‘I’d love to’.
There is no real purpose to me being a part of this exhibition, and certainly no money – unless the unthinkable happens and I sell my work to a rich lover of deformed animal tapestries.
But then, I never really did it for a purpose to begin with.
Whenever I stumble upon advice for people in their twenties and early thirties, it’s always directed towards a purpose. ‘Create a list of life goals!’ Or ‘list your core qualities and where you’d like to be by the age of thirty-five! Then map out the path to get there!’
(This I can tell you, friends – I am NOT where I wanted to be by the age of thirty-five (I’m only thirty-four, but still. Bear with me).)
I’m not mocking this sort of advice. I think it can be very useful to know where you want to go and how to get there.
But I guess what being chronically ill has taught me, is that to fail miserably with all your life goals, and to not know what your purpose is, and to float around in the world and do stuff left and right just because you feel like it, IS OKAY, TOO.
There is so much pressure on the narratives of our lives. Our lives should be engaging, plot driven stories, if not fairy tales (with the Instagram pics to prove it!). Everything should lead to something else in a way that makes sense – everything should have a purpose.
But what if your life is not a fairy tale? Not even a story? What if it’s no straight line leading perpetually up to bigger and better things, with a prize waiting for you at the end of the graph? What if it’s just a pointless curve, meandering up and down, going nowhere?
I’ll tell you what – YOU’LL BE JUST FINE.
This is what I have found: at any given point on the graph, I can still be right where I am. I can still find joy in that moment. I can still create beauty in that moment. For me, that’s meaning enough.
(And more so: I think being here is making me happier than being where I originally thought I should be by thirty-five.)
What it will lead to? I don’t know. But the wonderful thing is: I no longer NEED to know to live a good, meaningful life.
And so can you.
Even without a purpose.