Many people have an anchor in their lives. Something that has been with them all their lives. Something that defines them and indelibly creates their identity. My husband José for example: if you were to ask me for one defining characteristic of his personality, it would be a no-brainer. He loves his family. He has great pride in his family. Everything he thinks and does comes through a filter of “Is this good for my family?”
Psychics have told my husband that according to aura readings and charts, it is surprising that he has a family, because people like him usually end up living their lives alone. I think that’s total hogwash because I cannot imagine my husband existing on this earth without the intense and all-consuming love he harbors for his family. I cannot imagine him being happy without it.
Trying to hold a picture of José without a family in my mind is impossible. The image grays and dwindles immediately into a speck of dust. I imagine that without family, his life would be void of purpose and void of love. I can only imagine him without family as a very sad, lonely man.
For people like José, decision-making is made marginally easier when everything must come through this filter. The final decision made must be what is best for the family, even if it is self-effacing. And that is non-negotiable.
Or take Angela, my cohort here on Gold Millennial. She has an anchor too. She has her faith. This has been an essential part of her character since early childhood. I often think of her as a spiritual being in a material world. She is forever analyzing life through the lens of her faith. Every decision she makes comes through filter of her faith. Decisions must align with her faith, and this is likewise non-negotiable.
Angela cannot be crushed by the wrecking-ball sized curveballs of life, because her faith is a magical shield around her. She cannot be broken. Her faith makes her invincible. And it gives her great power to reach out to others and heal.
What these observations have made me realize is that anchors like these ground us into reality and into ourselves the way that no grounding meditation or exercise ever can. But not all of us are blessed with such internal grounding mechanisms.
The answer to “What is the purpose of life, the universe, and everything?” isn’t 42. The answer is variable. It’s different for everyone. For José it’s his family. For Angela it’s her faith. For cursed people like me it is constantly variable, every day of our lives. I don’t have a solid purpose for why I do what I do, and that has been the bane of my existence my entire life.
If “José loves his family.” and “Angela has her faith.” are ways that I define my loved ones, then the only way I could ever define myself is “Stacy is capricious.” If I moved to Alaska tomorrow and started living off the grid, no one would be surprised. They would just shake their heads and say, “Well, that’s Stacy.”
I’ve come to a point where I see now that the maddening cycle of starting, ending, starting, ending in my life will either drive me insane, or it will become a paradoxical anchor of who I am. I must either embrace it, or face a future where I never stop hating myself.
There’s always a good reason for me to end the last thing and start the next. What I must simply abide with is my incessant penchant for falling into situations with good reasons to end them time and time again.
If who we are is what we do, then who I am is someone different than who I will be next week. I am mutable. My soul came here to experience as much as it possibly could in this lifetime, and it has set about on a fiery path to do so in double time. Whether I like it or not.
I can keep having existential crisis every time I move on, or I can accept that moving on is who I am because it’s what I do. Surrendering to one’s destiny can feel too final though. When you’ve been fighting against it for so long, it can feel like defeat.
Perhaps it is just an inevitable symptom of getting older. Or perhaps the phenomenon is particular to the millennial experience. Over the years I find less and less reasons for getting up in the morning. Then reasons lose their meaning and start to feel less and less important. I start relying on hot showers and the aroma of fresh brewed coffee as surface anchors that don’t really mean anything.
There was once a time when I believed that changing the world was enough of a reason for going ahead and changing the world, but now I have trouble motivating myself with the same ambitions.
Why do you wake up in the morning? What is your anchor in life?