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Monday, March 31, 2008

Does Life Have A Purpose?

While I was conjuring up a fresh idea to write about, the following concept struck me:
Is the gift of life a springboard for personal progress, or is it meant to simply be experienced?

At the risk of sounding profoundly vain, I found myself as the inspiration for this idea as I am a constant work in progress, but looking back I have evolved a great deal over the last few years. At the same time, I also recognize that my progress would not have been possible without the contributions of those around me as inspiration.

For example, just four years ago I was living at my sister's house while trying to get back on my feet after hitting a low point by losing my driver's license from not taking care of a few simple traffic tickets. Luckily for me, my brother in law worked very close to where I work so we carpooled. We both enjoyed the ride to work and home so it wasn't much of an inconvenience for him but without it I would have lost my job. It was the help and support of my sister and brother in law that allowed me to move past a difficult time in my life and press on.

It was during that time when I met my wife Kacy and after sharing emails and calls, she drove up and we met in person. While I was already on the track to regaining my independence and moving forward, it was our relationship that really motivated me to finally put all of the mistakes behind me because of what the future may hold. Three and a half years later we're approaching our second anniversary, with a 9 month old son.

Of course, one could argue that because I had gotten myself into the position I was in that it would not be considered progress. Through my way of thinking, it certainly is and let me explain why. I think that progress can only be considered in the overall timeline of one's life. Everyone takes a step backwards now and then but it only makes the progress they make from that point even more of an achievement. I've actually been in that situation before and bounced back but not quite to the level I have this time.

In terms of personal growth, not counting employment or financial status, I think I've been on a steady climb for several years and never looked back. I have my ex's to thank for that, as I've endured a few very unfortunate relationships in which I got involved with someone that was clearly not right for me from the very start. It's easy to see that now, and I'm sure those around me saw it because they told me later on that they knew what the outcome would be. I've loved and learned on a few occasions and I'm better for it. This brings us back to my earlier mention of the contributions of others around me which lends to my personal progress. While I can attribute much of my personal growth to my past relationships, and my current one, I know that my overall personality and outlook are the result of my decision to live life as the kind of person that most people would feel thankful for having in their life. I'm not the most chivalrous person in the world, but I try to be kind to everyone and as helpful as I can be in any situation.

At this point of my life, I'm a ball of ambition with no means to achieve it. I have so many aspirations that I strongly believe I can accomplish but at this point they're not reachable, for lack of time or money, or both. I wish to play the drums and record a Grammy-winning instrumental album. I dream of making a living as a writer, if even as a side job, so I can buy a beautiful home for my family. I wish to be involved in the end of dolphin slaughter and murder of sharks for nothing more than their fins. I think progress has to come at a reasonable pace and since I've overcome so much in the last few years I'm guessing I need to enjoy everything as it comes for a while before trying to take myself to another level. However, the progress I've made only makes me strive to do more so I'm always ready to press on.

In answering the question I posed at the beginning of this post, I feel that without progress, society would not have lasted as long as it has. I started to say the world would not have lasted, but history tells us that the world has been around for millions of years before we came around, so it will remain for a very long time whether we succeed or fail. Everyone is responsible for making personal progress because financial progress promises nothing more than quality of life, in terms of status and property. The possibility of a solid future for society rests on the progress to be made by our children and their children and every generation that follows.

It is with that idea in mind that resting on what we have is no longer good enough if we want to see the future generations have a chance at the kind of life that we live. We must push ourselves and teach our children to always reach for more because progress is what keeps us going, not only in the literal sense.

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