Depending on where I’ve been in my journey, this question has elicited a wide variety of answers.
Shortly after I didn’t get into any of my grad school choices (boy, was that fun), this question led to much reading of Existential works and listening to the Smiths. It was a crisis of being, for sure. If I wasn’t on the track to becoming a professional clarinetist, who was I? What was the purpose of all my studying, all those hours of practice? What was the direction of my life? It was dismaying. Reading Sartre didn’t really help.
When I was becoming frum, my purpose and direction were blessedly clear. I had a number of tangible goals: Learn Hebrew, become familiar with the prayers, the blessings before and after meals, the nuances of frum life. It was invigorating. I loved it. Everything was new, shiny, fresh and just waiting for me to learn it.
Then, as a single, eligible frum girl, my purpose was to find a husband, and hopefully start a family. Sure, I had other goals, and I was very busy working several jobs, volunteering, and studying, but my main focus was on finding me a man.
Thank G-d, things have gone well these past four or so years. I’m in a good place and have settled into a comfortable routine. The challenges of keeping a house, raising children and strengthening my marriage keep me very occupied. I also have a healthy amount of me-time, which I spend blogging, or being musical, or socializing with my friends, be it online or in real life, and also relaxing.
Last night, I listened to the first recording of a class I recently started (it’s a teleconference thing, hence the recording). It prompted me to ask myself: What is really the purpose of my life? Like, if I had to say what I was living for, what my ultimate goal was, what would I say?
It made me realize, with a bit of chagrin, that I haven’t asked myself that question in a while. I’ve been “too busy.” Now, I have many very valid busy-making reasons, but I also have a fair share of, shall we say, less valid reasons. That line between productive me-time and mindless vegetation is a blurry one. I’m happy to be back in a place where I am again asking myself questions that help me stay focused on my goals and directions in life.
When’s the last time you asked yourself what your purpose was?
Don’t forget about Tu B’Shvat Shvat Shvat, which starts tonight! Happy New Year! If you’re a tree, that is.
7 thoughts on “Torah Tuesdays: What’s the purpose of life?”
HA! like, with every load of laundry :-)
Seriously, though, not in a very long time. I’m working on that :-)
I know, right? It’s so easy to be all “I need to reorganize that closet” and “Oh, we’re almost out of milk,” which are both important, be still.
Okay, this will sound all new agey but right now my purpose is to find peace, balance, and contentment within myself and not through external loci. My children are 4 and 2.5 and sometmes it is just a maelstrom around here. In order to guide my children through the uproar and chaos, it is a necessary pursuit and purpose.
But I do think I purpose changes depending on our season. We are not meant to be stagnant. Change is a good thing in many instances. Seeking out our purpose at each stage of our ever evolving life is a very good thing.
Okay, before I sound all wise and zen I must admit I have to quit writing to chase down, literally, a poopy 2 year old bottom.
haha, zen master of poopy bottoms. That is what we strive to be as mothers. And I love that purpose.
good post, important question
thank you, Batya