I often wonder what would happen if I suddenly realised exactly what I wanted to do with the rest of my life but the thing I realised I wanted to do was something like become a magician or a ventriloquist. Would I or anybody I know accept this, and could I actually make the change, or would I ultimately forgo the life I’d finally realised I wanted?
When I say I often wonder this, I don’t mean it’s particularly all consuming. I just wonder about it because I think it’s interesting for a number of reasons:
a. It hasn’t happened – though it must have a non-zero probability, right?
b. In the specific examples I’m used above – magician or ventriloquist – I actually don’t think I would disrupt my whole life to be one of those and I don’t think people around me would “understand” if I did.
c. Given a. and b. I wonder if this is ever likely to happen
It’s c. that’s really interesting to me. The idea that there is some hidden purpose to your life that you must discover has been discussed all over the place as both a truth and as a fallacy. I personally believe more in the idea of “making yourself” rather than “finding yourself”. I also suspect that “making yourself” has gone from being the edgy contrarian opinion to being the dominate popular believe, even as it continues to be presented as the contrarian view.
So I don’t believe your special purpose is completely isolated from the situation you are currently in now. Nor do I think your special purpose is at odds with the values you currently have now at this moment. Again, this is because I believe you “make yourself” rather than “find yourself” and therefore your special purpose doesn’t even exist until you make it.
However, there’s a contradiction here. If your special purpose doesn’t exist until you make it, and yet it’s not at odds with your currently situation and the values you have right now, then it cannot fully “not exist” right at this moment.
The situation you are currently in, and the values you currently hold, should already be the seed of what you eventually make. In many ways there is nothing new or revolutionary about stating this. In fact, those who knew me in my 20s would probably recognise this sort of articulation of beliefs. Furthermore, those who knew philosophy when it was in its 20s could probably provide a more nuanced and incomprehensible rendering. However, I personally haven’t really thought like this for a long time.
I didn’t need to think through these sort of things over the last few years because I’ve felt that I was fully formed. But I’ve been questioning that recently. I’ve never been one to resist change, and I consider myself as much of a “lifetime learner” as anybody else. But I’m also doing what many people do at my age (and perhaps at this time of year) – I’m consciously transitioning to whatever’s next.
And I’m determined to enjoy the process.