On purpose

I made a new friend while swimming in the English Channel in my underwear at 2:22 am. We know this not because we were sober and paying attention, but because the sea water broke his watch at the exact time he entered it. Like me, he is a seeker, but I still don’t know if he found what he was looking for in the sea that night.

He told me he is seeking a purpose, and frankly, who isn’t? In a flooding, burning, dying world, can procreation still be a viable life purpose? In a debt-based economy, can the labour we rely on for our living truly serve as anything more than an income?

Since my youth, my purpose has been story-telling and adventure. It’s enough to keep me going, motivate me and develop me, but I sometimes wonder if it’s enough to make me happy.

Because even with purpose – with stories, adventure and love – happiness can be elusive. I experience it as something temporary; fleeting moments on a journey mostly fraught with hopelessness and strife. But when they happen – when you’re surrounded by a dark sea and dark sky and still feel happy with someone – they are worth it. So maybe the Americans got it right, that the pursuit of happiness is as worthwhile a purpose as any, in this world of uncertainty and work.

Knowing that it’s there, waiting in the waves, gives me hope for my friend, and other seekers like him.

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