“The purpose of life is not to be happy — but to matter, to be productive, to be useful, to have it make some difference that you have lived at all.” — Leo Rosten
I recently posted this quote to my Facebook status. I ‘borrowed” it from someone else, a friend who had it as their Facebook status.
I don’t agree with it 100%, because being happy is very important. I don’t think being happy should be the goal. It should be the natural outcome of doing whatever it is you want to do. When happiness is the goal, we may overemphasize the goal and cut corners. Maybe even the credit card debt crisis hitting the world could be assigned partially to the idea of “happiness first.”
Now, I am a Capricorn, an earth sign, and Capricorns are very goal and purpose and “point” oriented, as in “What’s the point?” or “What am I getting out of this?” We don’t like the belief that we are unproductive. But time & experience have taught me, sometimes the point is to not have a point, to experience the experience in order to see what happens and then gain from that. The goal is to let go, let it unfold. Sometimes we may not understand something for years, but the years we spend not understanding add a lot to our character, our integrity, and our deeper perception of the world and life.
I recently had such an experience. Years ago I was fired from a job I had been doing for over 15 years. I had expected to retire while working that job. And without going into mind numbing, self-justifying & pointless detail, the logic & the specific circumstances of my firing didn’t make sense to me. Didn’t matter. I was still fired. I railed at the universe, the powers-that-be, etc. I tried to find another full-time job and it didn’t happen, so I took on what freelance work I could find in my field, and then after a while I took on any temp work I could find. I started expanding my astrology business. I met people & entered situations I wouldn’t have previously. I was engaged, involved and finding new ways to be useful, to make a difference, and to be happy.
Recently I learned a few missing details about my firing, and for me, the pieces fell into place. Yet it didn’t matter the same way anymore. I didn’t feel justified or vindicated. I had taken care of those feelings. Seven years of challenges, growth and frustrations taught me to either accept or change things. I did feel a sense of release, of closing the door on another chapter of my life, but I was no longer expecting outside events to make me happy.
The purpose of life is to live it. Even the act of “making a difference,” in the big picture, cannot really be delineated, quantified or qualified. Sometimes our smallest acts can have startling consequences for someone else, and we may never know.
Come to think of it, maybe I don’t really agree with this quote at all… it seems a little pushy and bossy.
I better go change my Facebook status…
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SPECIAL NOTE: On Friday August 20th, at 8pm, I will be giving a talk called “You Create Your Own Reality: The Lessons of the Seth Material & Ways To Apply Them To Your Life” for The Eyes Of Learning, in Hicksville, Long Island, NY. If you wish to attend, go to http://eyesoflearning.org/programs-and-events and scroll down to August 20th for details. The Eyes of Learning Center is Long Island’s “oldest and most respected metaphysical learning center” and they always have interesting talks and demonstrations scheduled. If you live on Long Island, check them out.
I wondered about that quote on Facebook! It didn’t seem very much like you. Happiness is all in the mind anyway. And I’m glad to hear you can put the past to rest and move on to better things. I always enjoy your blog.
Great post. I really needed to hear this. Thanks.