Finding Meaning for Your Life

I remember back in my early 20’s I took a psychology test to see what jobs were best suited for me. As it turned out the test indicated I was the type that needed to find “deeper purpose and meaning” in my work than the average person. The Meyers Briggs indicator said I was an INFP and that these made up only a small percentage of the population. These types needed jobs that seemed to serve a higher societal good and had a sense of morality to them. The jobs they listed as suggestions were: priest, teacher, artist, musician, writer … and a few others like those. I guess I thought those jobs would bring meaning to my life so I nearly pursued them all.

When the dust settled, I ended up a teacher and it fits me. I remember being so inspired by a teacher in a movie long ago: A River Runs Through it. In it, a young mans decides the same thing for his career. Sometimes the meaning we seek finds us unexpectedly. But how do we find meaning in our lives? Humans have the uncanny ability to make order from chaos. Sometimes when our lives are nearly falling apart, we do something to save them and it all comes together with meaning. In these moments it can almost be like you meant to go there all along. The reality is though, there is no perfect plan. There is no automatic college degree or “comfortable” perfect marriage, to give two stereotypes. One must sweat it out sometimes and do the work to have the result.

Now back to finding meaning for your life: sometimes finding the meaning from the chaos is the work that a human must do. What are you doing now? Can you see how the failures and successes up to this point contributed to get you there? One of the reasons I love and appreciate people so much is because they are able to assemble the puzzle of their lives. It’s like what someone told me once regarding marriag, though it applies to any dream or vision: “If you work at it and hope for it, it doesn’t matter how long you waited once you find the right one.” Your dream or vision is like that. Keep moving forward and remember one day it will all have meaning, even if you don’t see it now.

Author: Damien Riley

I'm an online diarist, blog film critic, & podcaster. My views on films and life are often 'left of center' on, but I have respect for other viewpoints. I married my high-desert princess (now my queen). We have 3 children.

1 thought on “Finding Meaning for Your Life”

  1. Those were the careers I was selected for, too! I am totally drawn to jobs that help people (or animals) and I almost feel useless working in jobs that aren’t like the ones you’ve described above.

    My “calling” was definitely in Law Enforcement and I excelled as a Police Dispatcher/911 Operator. Many times I would be stuck on a 16 hour shift and it would fly by in the blink of an eye. Believe it or not, I also felt that way about waitressing. I enjoyed making sure that my customers not only enjoyed their meal, but enjoyed the time spent in the restaurant, too. It made me happy when they were able to escape from the pressures of life and enjoy themselves a bit.

    Honestly, I think that’s why I’m not so happy in my current job, selling insurance and handling customers accounts. Not that people don’t need insurance and good insurance advice, which they do, it just doesn’t “feel the same” as those other jobs. Unfortunately, life gets in the way of what jobs we can do at certain times. I can’t leave that job because of the time flexibility it offers me. I’d never get that anywhere else.

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