Wooff Asks: Recently, my life has been going very smooth. My anxiety is pretty much gone but then again, there are days when I feel like I have difficulty communicating with others and I have difficulty breathing. But those days are rare now. My question isn’t really just a question. It’s something maybe you can’t even help me out on. What is the purpose of this life? You can tell me that it’s to be kind, to be granted a space in heaven. But what is it all for? I try not to think of the future much because staying in the present is better. But I wonder, what is the end goal? And why can’t I just have stayed 10? Like, I really miss the times I spent back when I was a kid. When I didn’t have to think if there was any purpose to life or what I’m doing here. To just wake up, watch cartoons and have breakfast. I didn’t have to think that I needed exercise because I loved myself the way I was. When I didn’t have to will myself to take a morning stroll. I understand death, I understand why we have to die but I don’t understand why we live? Why is life ever changing and why are we? In my recent course of life, I’m trying to be more humble. Whenever I have a fight with anyone, I try to apologize. Despite it being my fault or not. And I try not to see any fault anymore and I like it. To be honest, I like my life but I don’t know why I’m living it. Do you understand?
Your question can be answered in two different ways. One of them is in an area where I’m a complete expert, and the other is an area where I can’t even pretend to have any knowledge at all.
I’ll start with the second. Over time, most humans have believed in religions. And one thing religions offer is explanations of what the meaning and purpose of human lives are. Maybe it’s to behave in a way that pleases God. Maybe it’s to do acts that increase the power of God or some gods. Maybe it’s to learn lessons that will set you up to be better in your next life. Maybe it’s to do whatever it takes to get into Heaven.
Well, Wooff, I am a dog. And can’t remotely agree or disagree with any of those. And if you should develop a belief in any of those, I won’t be able to say you’re right or wrong.
But then there’s that other area. And that is the question of how to find meaning in your own life. And that is what I know about more than anything. And my answer is one word: PASSION.
Think about it – you’ve read some biographies, right? Well, what did they tell you was the meaning of those people’s lives? It’s always what their passion is. Whether it’s a passion to do good, a passion to strengthen group of people, a passion to create art, a passion to care for one’s family, a passion to get loved and famous, or even a passion to do evil… it’s that passion that gives their lives meaning.
And this doesn’t require success. A person who devotes their life to trying to do something has a life defined by that, even if they never achieve it. For example, if you spend your life trying to write a novel that you never finish, that’s what your life is about.
So when people say a dog’s life has no meaning, I disagree fully. We are great at living in passion. A passion for running, for chasing cats, for protecting, for loving… we live our lives’ meanings beautifully.
Think of it – you could even live a very meaningful life by devoting yourself passionately to trying to figure out the meaning of your life! Lots of people have – they’re called Philosophers, and have changed the world with their wise inquiries.
So my great wish for you is that you find your passion. When you were ten, you had a passion about watching cartoons. That’s fine, but it’s not true for you anymore. Your job now is to keep doing all the things you do now (like being a good student and friend), but also to find your next passion. Maybe it’s to create something. Maybe it’s a gigantic crush you develop on someone. Maybe it’s to learn all sorts of wisdom about your soul and eternity.
Or keeping squirrels out of your yard. That is a great passion, maybe the greatest of them all. Which reminds me, I need to go live some of my meaning, because I’m hearing some very sassy chattering going on in the tree outside my window RIGHT NOW!
Loads of Love,