Last Sunday, I woke up without a sense of purpose. Chris asked me if I wanted to go eat tsukemen when the restaurant opens at 11am. I mindlessly said yes.
In my 20’s, I spent countless hours just “hanging out” with my friends. There was no sense of purpose to what we did. We just walked around aimlessly or sat around without any nameable activities. In my 40’s, as a responsible parent, I looked back at my 20s and regretted the time I wasted.
After tsukemen, we walked over to the Taiwanese festival at Union Square Park. It was bizarrely hot, so, we wanted to get the shaved ice we spotted someone eating. Thanks to the efficiency of the Taiwanese girls at the booth, there was no line. We swiftly moved into a shady area with our bowls and kept stabbing at our mountains of ice with plastic spoons.
We explored the festival some more until we overheated again. We then escaped into Barnes & Noble. Once we were sufficiently cooled, we ventured out again for about ten minutes until we came across a Taiwanese bubble tea store. This pattern continued for some time.
These days, when I make a plan to see friends, the activity is defined in advance. Even if it’s just to chat, it has a sense of purpose, like “catching up” with each other. “Hanging out” in my 20s was decidedly different. We often sat quietly but it’s not what we call “mindful meditation” today as the latter is full of purpose. “Self-care” and vacation are purposeful too; they allow people to keep their sanity in this alienating world. It’s like Red Cross that heals the wounds of soldiers so that they can go back to kill some more.
Aimlessly walking around with Chris made me realize that those pointless hours I spent in my youth had a meaning beyond purpose. Ultimately, “purpose” is a social construct. As long as you are being purposeful, you are serving others even if you are on the beach sipping on a margarita. Your purpose in life is always serving someone else. But at the end of that long chain of purpose, there is someone who exists without a purpose, who gives everyone else the purpose in life. God has no purpose in life, because he doesn’t serve anyone.
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