Hello, Purpose, Are You There?


Here we are, at post number ten. I feel drawn to make it great – make it mean something, not that I wanted the other blog posts to be garbage, but I suppose this blank slate looks especially appealing right now, thus, I’m inspired to give it my all… my English teachers would be so thrilled about the enthusiasm.

So, let’s talk about finding your purpose. Fittingly, I was just talking to one of my friends (hi, Helen) who gave me a quote, without knowing I was jumping into a post about this very thing… she said, ‘I believe that purpose is not static, but dynamic; ever evolving according to your season of life.’ She may have heard it on a podcast or audio book, but she’s getting the credit unless I hear otherwise. I immediately knew it had to go in here because I feel there’s such a pressure to find your passion… your one passion, and to follow that with everything you have. For some people, I think that’s true, which you’ll see in this Sunday’s post; I received feedback from three individuals, talking about how they found and followed their purpose – their singular purpose. For me, that’s not the case – I’ve always been interested in many things – performance, dance, fashion, writing, public speaking, drawing, cooking, football… the list goes on. I remember being told ‘you can be anything you want to be when you grow up’ and feeling alarmed at the notion. “Anything?!” I thought, “there’s too much to choose from!” So, naturally, I felt stifled by the need to pick a major in college – I looked at that long list of options and overwhelming panic took over.

Let me play out the back and forth in my brain, as I sat behind the oak-wood desk my junior year, staring at our family’s silver Dell computer, scrolling through the seemingly infinite catalog.

Do I go with something in the arts? I do love dance – and I love being on stage… but, no, that’s too niche – I can’t be a dancer forever. Okay, ooh, I’d be good at marketing… maybe that! No, that could paint me in a corner I don’t want to be in forever. Psychology! Yes – I’m so interested in humanity and the causality of what makes us act a certain way… but, no, there’s not a surplus of job opportunities in that field, and what if I don’t love it? Architecture – no. Aerospace Engineering… yeah, right.

Ultimately, I entered my Freshman year at ASU undeclared (Undeclared is a great Judd Apatow show, by the way), and later selected Business, with a minor in Communications. I always loved learning and found school captivating; even walking by the Memorial Union in the scorching 120-degree heat was tolerable (though, the wet hair look wasn’t a thing yet), because we were all in it together – me and the sixty thousand other Sun Devils. But, as much as I enjoyed my time on campus, I found myself drawn to stereotypical college life even more… the toga-themed parties with hardly any room to move, someone knocking into the beer pong table, while frat dudes drew on the light weight’s faces once they passed out on the old, brown, cloth-covered couch. I just really liked being around a lot of people. I think that’s why holidays are so special – we’re all celebrating the same thing which makes people feel included, like they’re a part of something.

While in college, I met my ex-boyfriend – a bartender at a club in Old Town Scottsdale… I know, real surprise. We were both susceptible to influence, but I’m not going down that rocky road with you now; I will simply say, I did not graduate… I’ve always held shame about it, but in time, it has dissipated. Maybe I’ll be like JK Rowling and get an honorary degree from Harvard some day. A girl can dream…

Throughout those five years since graduation, I struggled to find my purpose, still thinking I hadn’t figured out the one thing I was meant to be doing. Now that more time has passed, I’ve been able to take a step back and look at those years with love and appreciation. I lived the life I wanted to, met so many incredible people, including some of my best friends, and made invaluable memories. You know when you’re watching a movie and one of the characters has a flashback which you see on the screen? That’s what I’m experiencing now… a flood of scenes coming through, as I sit here with a smile. Okay – well, you’re not watching my movie and you’re not inside my head (I hope), so, let’s move on.

After my relationship ended, I was presented with a new blank slate – a chance to recreate my reality with decisions that felt right. And, at first, I didn’t… I made even more mistakes, none of which I regret, because I continued learning – I felt guilt, which is just a guide to nudge me back on track. I mean, that’s what our emotions are there for, right? If we’re feeling shame, that’s a roadmap to show us what to stay away from. If we’re feeling joy, that tells us to follow along the path… essentially, intuition. So, I started a new job, which connected me with even more people I stay in touch with regularly; it provided me with the opportunity to travel, to engage in public speaking, to join a committee and step up as the Chairman, to help businesses flourish, and most importantly (to me), have fulfilling conversations every day.

And then came meditation… if you read my post on the topic, I talk about how important that addition has been to my growth, which has allowed me to see the areas of my life I essentially put bandaids over; the areas that still need proper care and healing. Meditation has also shown me that if I have an interest in something, PURSUE IT… who’s stopping me? It was as if someone was clenching my toes (I really dislike feet), telling me I couldn’t move forward unless I decided what one thing I wanted to do for THE REST OF MY LIFE. And now, I’m writing because I love it – that’s it. I’m not putting pressure on myself to be a novelist or a successful screenwriter – I’m just doing it because I love it.

I write down lists of what I want to manifest, and I edit the list often if I feel something isn’t authentic because I now fully subscribe to the fact that the universe is working WITH us to provide what we want, we just have to prove we value ourselves enough to go after it… and that ‘it’ can be as many things as our heart desires.

Okay, let’s take a deep breath… five counts in – hold – and five counts out. My hope is that this didn’t come across too “self-helpy” – my fingers just went off the rails, so I trusted what came out. I’m not going to prescribe anything to you, like writing down what you’re happy with in life or what brings you joy, but also, I am suggesting it, because if you love riding horses, damnit, make time to ride horses. If you like painting your face green every night to look like Shrek, go for it… though, I recommend staying away from painting your face the color of another race – that never turns out well for anyone. Just follow your intuition, keep doing things that bring you joy, and don’t feel stuck, thinking you can only have one passion. Speaking of – time to go check my fantasy football lineup.

Devon Herrera

Committed To Curiosity