I had a teacher in high school who lectured about the purpose of life. He was convinced that it was impossible to pin into one essay or book, though many great writers had tried.
Sometimes he threatened to give us the assignment on the subject, but said that was setting us up for failure. How could we, mere students, do what so many authors have failed at?
He went on and on about the subject, until finally I blurted, "The purpose of life is to gain eternal happiness."
"Well," my teacher brushed off my comment with a wave. "Some of us turn look for purpose in church."
I sank in my chair, my cheeks enflamed. He was right. I had learned this idea in church. And I didn't mean to say it out loud. Whether I believed it or not seemed irrelevant at the moment.
A voice gasped beside me. "No wait!" The new girl had straightened from her usual slouch. "She's right! The purpose of life is gain happiness - no matter what that means to you."
The teacher paused, mostly because the new girl was not one to speak up. With twinkling eyes, she expounded, "I mean, if money makes you happy, then your purpose would be to gain more of it. And if fame, or going to church is where you find happiness, then THAT'S YOUR PURPOSE."
She was getting a little excited, and the teacher fanned the air to calm her down. "She right," the new girl repeated more quietly, slumping back into her chair. "That's the purpose of life."
I'm glad she spoke up that day, and not just because she was not a religious person. That new girl taught me something. I'd always assumed that happiness was the same for everyone. But it's not. She was right: What is happiness for me, may not be for someone else. Regardless, the purpose of life is to obtain happiness - whatever that looks like for you.
By the way, the teacher never did assign that essay to our class. But my younger siblings who took his class had to write it.
What makes you happy?
This is part of the A-Z Challenge. My other posts are in the AZ category to the right.
I write about, with, for, and around kids all day. (Well, maybe I do the dishes too. Sometimes.)