I’ve always enjoyed frugality and I’ve always been slightly unnerved with the blatant and unchallenged consumerism that surrounds me every day. Committing myself to a life of conscious spending, savings, and simple living over the past few years has been enlightening for me, and the exploration of that mindset is part of the reason I am writing this blog. While this lifestyle feels like an old pair of jeans that were forgotten in the dresser drawer for a while (but fit perfectly still) I also feel like something is still really missing from my life.
Some folks approach early retirement like a religion. Others are baffled by the desire to leave the rat race, and to them work is their purpose. Some dedicate their time & energy toward raising kids, hoping to some day bask in the glory that comes with overseeing a brood of adoring children & grandchildren. Some find purpose in serving their religion or god. Others choose a life of adventure, traveling the world and absorbing as much culture as they can stand. There are also the poor souls who commit their life to consumption – media, goods, services, entertainment, stuff. I don’t find myself fitting any of these typical molds, but at the same time, I can relate to and find meaning in tiny slivers of most of them.
Unfortunately, it seems I am still a bit lost at sea when it comes to defining my purpose & life’s meaning. I don’t know if this is something that most people contemplate, and if so, how (& when?) they figure it out. I certainly have more passion for life than I did 10 years ago, but I don’t yet have a purpose. I used to lament the fact that I didn’t know any of my passions (and was quite scared I would never have any), but I now realize the problem was deeper. At times I find this dilemma paralyzing; time marches ahead without me. I am getting older, time is speeding up, my hair is falling out – this fleeting life is slipping me by, and I feel this deep internal desire to find my true purpose, before it’s too late to LIVE it. Will I find it? I hope so. I have a sneaking suspicion that it has a lot to do with love. Love for other people, love for myself, love for my family and friends, but it’s still cloudy.
It’s easy to get lost in the day to day routine of life, especially with the enjoyable distraction of playing the frugal financial games, always optimizing something, earning or saving that extra dollar. It’s easy to push the nagging philosophical questions to the back of your mind because everyday life is in the way. Despite this impulse, beneath it all, I think the real question at the root of almost everyone’s struggle in life is to define their purpose. So, if I reach my goal and “retire” in 12 years, I really hope that I will have found some of my own truth along the way.
[featured photo by dakine kane]