An Epic Life

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If you are like me, you sometimes question what is the purpose of your existence and seek to align your day job to that purpose. It has not been an easy task as I’m not one of those people who always knew they were born to do something or born with some innate talent – I can’t sing to save my life, not brilliant at math, not into fashion, so that ruled out superstar singer, actuary, and fashionista. But all joking aside, the experts told me “do what you are passionate about”, “remember what you used to love doing as a child” etc.; but when your joys and interests are a mixture of little simple things, it is not easy creating a “life” around the haphazard.

Until the grand design reveals itself, I have resolved to continue doing whatever I feel inspired to do; the mish mash of little things, adding up to a “purpose” in retrospect, I hope. Its anyone’s guess what will be created when the love of inspirational quotes, writing, parenting, iphoneography, reading, travel and risk taking is baked with compassion, love and generosity with a bit of day job thrown in.

However, I recently read a blog post by Justine Musk on The Art of finding your passion in your woundedness ( + discovering the work of your soul) which has me pondering whether I am skimming the surface of what could be a more epic life. In it she says the question should not be “what would bring me enjoyment” but “what work am I willing to suffer for today?”:

“In your epic life, you are doing great work, the work of your soul: you are suffering for something beyond yourself. You shape your life around a mission and use yourself up every day in service of something bigger that fulfills, inspires and sustains you. You are on a meaningful journey, and you’re taking others with you… You are living with passion…This kind of passion is focused on others, not self; on what you can give, not get. You think about the world in terms of how you can best and uniquely contribute to making it a better place, instead of how it can fulfill your own needs…. And if you’re completely drawing a blank, let me suggest something: instead of thinking what you’re willing to suffer for, think of how in your life you have suffered.…For a life to be epic, there must be sacrifice. An epic life demands nothing less than everything you’ve got to give it.”

The post conjured up for me the lives of well-known heroes and crusaders in the history books making positive changes benefiting the masses.

It is times like this, that I have to calm my raging inner critic and remind myself that we all are on different paths and a simple, quiet life can be filled with meaning, passion and sacrifice. The impact may not be felt by millions or even hundreds but if it has inspired and uplifted one person, it is still an epic life.