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What if I told you that your Life has no Purpose?

Unlearning all you know about divine plans and destiny, just might give you a stronger will to live

By Stephanie RamloganPublished 2 years ago 5 min read
What if I told you that your Life has no Purpose?
Photo by Austin Chan on Unsplash

I have lived through bouts of depression and pretty serious anxiety for about two decades. I have had months where I considered ending my life myself because the pain and burden of my mind can be overwhelming. I never have done it, obviously. Partially because my Christian upbringing taught me to fear the consequence of that. And partly because I don't think my family could handle the paperwork. But this most recent spiral had me deeply questioning everyone and everything I knew. Why am I trying to stay alive?

By Eunice Lituañas on Unsplash

"You haven't fulfilled your purpose yet," my father said one night while he ate dinner, as I sat across from him drinking my own tears instead of food, like I had done for days straight. "If you take your life you would have interrupted destiny."

"But if all of this is pre-ordained, then wouldn't me dying have all been a part of my destiny?" I persisted.

"No. Killing yourself cannot be divine will. You have so much ahead of you!"

He began to get understandably upset. I have tried to speak to my father about my mental health before. I've even taken him to meet my therapist once, hoping she could help him understand. My father is a medical professional, but he is also an old school Indian-Caribbean father. I'm not sure there is any amount of education or counselling that would ever allow him sufficient understanding that his child considers leaving the world, and him. I know it's a lot to swallow.

I pressed friends about the ideas. What is the Divine Plan exactly? Some people have much easier lives than others. Some of the best people I know are facing incredible hardships. Some of the shittiest, most vapid and self absorbed people I know, have it all. Is this destiny?

I would be offered all sorts of explanations. From the usual "You're never given more than you can handle" and "you're going through this because you are strong" to the popular "this is a blessing in disguise" or "the blessing is right around the corner." In Trinidad we have a saying: God Don't Sleep. It is supposed to bring comfort to anyone who feels betrayed. Retribution will come, just you wait and see. But I have seen little of this karma play out. Instead I keep doing my best, working on my well-being and genuinely showing love and kindness to every man, woman, child, creature and houseplant. Despite my "goodness", life has brought me immeasurable heartbreak and disappointment. I'm not whining here, don't get me wrong. Just trying to evaluate this "divine plan". I have absolutely had amazing successes and achievements and beautiful moments worth celebrating. I have known gorgeous romantic love and made profound friendship connections. But joy never lasts long for me. I had for some time, developed an anxiety over happiness, knowing it meant that a shitstorm was on its heels. This has been my pattern of existence.

By Ben Blennerhassett on Unsplash

When no one could really answer my questions about fate, I started considering that there was no actual plan or purpose at all. I saw someone I know post on Facebook about having to deliver her stillborn baby. Was that part of a divine plan? I saw a guy I had dated in the past, who was notoriously dishonest, selfish and remorseless, flaunting his beautiful new doting girlfriend on Instagram. I started doubting that good deeds led to great rewards. I felt that everything was random and no matter what I did I was going to be miserable. Good things happened to assholes. I saw it for myself. I rejected the idea that life had anything to do with fate at all.

For many people, the idea that life is orchestrated by a divine "savior" is comforting. Some people love believing that their suffering will be rewarded. That if they are good, they must end up in a better place when they die. They believe in rewards and punishment. And the concept that the flesh is weak and we must pray to be rescued. I'm not like these people. The mere thought that I don't have a choice in the matter frankly suffocates me. I don't like thinking that no matter what I do, there is a pre-determined outcome of my existence. No, I want to know that I have control over my life. That is what brings me peace. That is what keeps me alive, knowing that I have the ability to change my tomorrow.

My therapist emailed me this excerpt. It expressed that the reason for life was not to play out a script, but to feel and love through your story as it unfolds for the first time. It goes:

Excerpt from Louise Edrich's The Painted Drum

Some ancient religious teachings say that the creator needed a way to experience all he created so he made us, and he experiences the world he made through our varied lives. There is no concept of good or bad. Everything is relative. They are all just experiences. Our purpose, if you want to call it that, is to experience different things. It's nothing personal. And yes, we can choose different paths and change our minds and choose to rebel from the norm. All of this is allowed. There are no mistakes. There is no wrong. And there is no punishment. There are consequences of course. Some decisions will lead us into difficult times. If you get caught stealing you could go to jail. If you intentionally break someone's heart you may live with guilt and torment for the rest of your life. The good news is, it all ends one day eventually.

My circumstances are still abysmal, but I feel more motivated to push through now that I believe in this ideology of Purpose for experience, and not to fulfil an already determined outcome. I am the creator of my own life. I can make change. I can walk away. I won't be condemned to damnation if I'm not perfect, and I won't escape stress if I am. No matter what I do or choose each day, I will experience both great moments and devastating ones. Each decision is the right decision. This has changed my whole world. And when I feel like I can't go on, I take a nap. I allow myself to cry and feel distraught. Because I am here to feel. And I know that tomorrow I can buy myself my favorite ice cream, or play a song I love and dance until I sweat, and for a moment or two feel a semblance of joy. Because I will have every emotion in this life, and my only job is to experience it.


About the Creator

Stephanie Ramlogan

A Trinidadian writer based in Brooklyn, writing about what it's like to exist between the Caribbean and USA, in the form of essays, articles and fictional short stories.

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