By in Spirituality

What Is Your Purpose in Life?

There seems to be a growing trend to "define one's purpose in life." I pose this very question to my students (participants in the workshops I facilitate). Typically, these students fall into the 20- to 50-year-old age range.

I even go as far to disclose to them my purpose: "To inspire others to see beyond the challenges they face." I share my personal stories to illustrate how I came to that understanding.

The truth of my personal story is that it took Life beating me up, and my falling on my ass a time or two, to understand exactly what that meant to me. It was nearly years ago when I first declared this purpose to myself. I was 53-years-old.

Purpose, as defined by, is "the reason why something is done or used : the aim or intention of something," "the feeling of being determined to do or achieve something," or "the aim or goal of a person : what a person is trying to do, become, etc."

When we are younger or when we have not been through many battles of life, the word "purpose" suggests an immediacy.

We must pay our rent, feed our bellies, and the bellies of those who look to us for sustenance. We have to acquire the latest and greatest of gadgets, toys, and gizmos. We need a job now, so we will take whatever comes our way as long as it pays enough, without regard to whether we will enjoy it. We settle for what we want in our need for immediate gratification. We do this in relationship to people, things, sex, money, and (fill-in-the-blank).

We want what we want and we will do whatever it takes to get at the moment to get it. That is our "purpose."

I certainly do not suggest that all of this is a bad thing but, even in our unselfishness, we do all of these things for us and those in our immediate circle of influence. For anything beyond that, there usually is not much concern.

We think our purpose is simply to "be a good person" or to "take care of our families." Both are quite honorable, and I understand that. But is there more?

What about those who have not been good persons? Those who have not raised their children? Are they doomed? Do they have no purpose other than to be the bad example set by society for you not to follow?

Or when you have fulfilled your purpose as you state it in your younger years, do you no longer have purpose?

I have seen far too many husbands, wives, parents, and children break-down and feel their lives are over when there is death, divorce, moving away, and many other things that life dishes out. What happens next?

As we mature, we confront our own mortality. When our butts have become bruised from falling too many times, or when someone else is boldly vulnerable to share what they have learned along the way, we are stunned momentarily.

If and when we are willing to listen, we may begin to think of the word "purpose" differently. We begin to question, "Why am I here?"

In trying to find an answer to that question, some begin to look at life through a different lens. Purpose becomes something greater than simply for one's own gain or to amass toys, things, and riches to leave to people who may value these differently.

Maturity is not simply a matter of age. I have met children who have faced death who are wiser than some of the senior citizens I know who have led a charmed life.

So, why are YOU here? In the grand scheme of things, how do you want to remembered? What is the legacy that you want to leave to this world? What are the things that you are to do for before it is your time?

What is YOUR purpose in this life?

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Copyright © 2015 - Coral Levang

Original written and published on January 17, 2014 on Bubblews and later removed by the author. Content many not be used without written permission.

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Paulie wrote on September 22, 2015, 11:30 PM

My purpose in life is to be a good parent, husband, grandparent, and citizen of the world. I want to be known as someone who inspired others to learn a language or a skill. I have written an article about this on Hubpages if you have time to check it out.

CoralLevang wrote on September 23, 2015, 12:17 AM

I have never been to Hubpages.

I shall have to check it out.

cheri wrote on September 23, 2015, 12:51 AM

Since I am already a parent, my purpose is to be there for my children

CoralLevang wrote on September 23, 2015, 12:57 AM

Is that a "purpose for now" or is that what life has intended your purpose to be? On the journey of life, children are there for a time.

Paulie wrote on September 23, 2015, 3:26 AM

If you have the time, I strongly suggest you check it out. I write under my name PaulKuehn there.

inertia4 wrote on September 23, 2015, 5:59 AM

Honestly I don't think this question could actually be answered. If we eliminate everything that society has taught us, all the rules all the religion, we are only left with us. So looking it from that perspective, try and answer the question. I doubt anyone could. We are then just another living creature surviving in a baron world. I think a better question is who put us here. How did we get here. Or maybe why do we exist at all. Purpose, there is no purpose.

JohnRoberts wrote on September 23, 2015, 9:03 AM

Does there have to be a purpose? Man is an animal. We are born, we breed and we die. We think we are special because we have a brain and what has that brain done? Trash the earth and kill each other. If there is a purpose, it is to live a destruction free life of harming nothing and living as happy a life as possible.

CoralLevang wrote on September 23, 2015, 10:16 AM

This would make an interesting discussion. Sometimes, I would love to sit around in robes, drinking tea, and conversing with the great philosophers we have had over the centuries. You would be one of them. I can see it and Aristotle.

CoralLevang wrote on September 23, 2015, 10:18 AM

&AbbyG As we can only understand it from our unique perspective, I agree. And since you have made me laugh, giggle, and smile, at least once.... please consider making it your purpose to keep me (or others) in stitches. emoticon :winking:

CoralLevang wrote on September 23, 2015, 10:23 AM

As long as there are people who continue to envy others because they work hard to have something, and then they allow their brains to overcome their senses, then they are in destruction mode. That's what seems to make them happy, whether they are trashing earth, killing one another, or abusing any system they deem their right to do so. Some people cannot see past their own egos, and will never be happy.

JohnRoberts wrote on September 23, 2015, 10:46 AM

Alas human nature is a destructive thing. We are guilty to a degree and most can control impulses but way too many cannot.

lexiconlover wrote on September 23, 2015, 11:02 AM

Everyone has a different purpose in life, I do believe that they change sometimes as our lives change and as our deisres and needs change.

CoralLevang wrote on September 23, 2015, 11:51 AM


CoralLevang wrote on September 23, 2015, 11:52 AM

I think that we change our focus throughout life, based on our knowledge and enlightenment, for lack of a better word. And yes, purpose is individual.

DWDavisRSL wrote on September 23, 2015, 5:58 PM

Considering one's purpose in life should be an ongoing exercise as we journey through the years, because it will change as our circumstances change. My purpose as a soldier was much different from my purpose as a student or a husband or a father of young boys. Since I became a teacher my purpose is vastly different from what it was as a CPA.

But my overriding purpose in life is that when someday I meet my Maker he will take my hand in his and say, "Well done, my good and faithful friend. Well done."

CoralLevang wrote on September 23, 2015, 6:05 PM

I actually see it a little different, though I understand. My purpose in life has always been the same. The vehicle I chose (military, student, wife, mother, teacher, friend, etc.) is different, but my purpose has always been to inspire others to think beyond the challenges they face. It is in the end that I hope will know that job being well done.

inertia4 wrote on September 24, 2015, 11:42 AM

Well now. I am up in ranks with those outstanding philosophers. I never would have thought. Would we all have robes on? Or just you. I could find me a long smoking jacket and use it as a robe. I don't know if I am up in that category, but I am flattered. I have many thoughts on many things. I am sure I would make your head spin.

butchiepoo wrote on September 25, 2015, 2:03 PM

I am a wife, mother, grandmother, Aunt, sister and a friend to several people. I was a stay at home mom for the most part. Other than being a mother until age 26 I really didn't feel I had a purpose personally. When I was 26 I turned my life over to Jesus Christ who set me free from street drugs, alcohol and a bad attitude, along with rage. I hated my parents and then I was able to forgive them and stop blaming them for my miserable life. I became part of a huge family and finally felt I had a purpose. To tell people who have no hope that there truly is hope in Jesus. That He loves everyone no matter what they've done or don't do. He is interested in a personal relationship with those whom He created and gave His life for. It has been nearly 30 years and I have never looked back in disappointment for the decision I made as He has shown me His love every day. I have gone through some really hard times and He helped bring me through. I would not have survive life without Him. He is my BFF. I hope you open up your heart to Him and see how much He really loves you!

markgraham wrote on September 25, 2015, 4:13 PM

Very thought-provoking. I really never thought of my purpose in life except to try and care for my parents in any way I could. I thought my purpose was in teaching and nursing, but after going to my nieces' Pentecostal church one evening they had an evangelist and his talk was on PURPOSE. After a lot of prayers and thinking that is when it struck me my purpose was not in these careers only not even as a sitter of kids at any age. I am meant to be a writer and I am to teach and even nurse through my writing. Does that sound dumb?

MegL wrote on October 1, 2015, 1:34 AM

I think my purpose is to learn. Learn what, I am not quite sure. But all my life I have tried to find ways to motivate me to learn new things, take up new skills, learn new methods, learn more about me and what makes me tick and what makes others tick too. I am happy to help others learn as well, if they choose and sometimes that involves talking and writing about what I have learned. Sometimes, it doesn't seem like an awful lot.