Maybe the purpose of life is just to have a festival
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Maybe the purpose of life is just to have a festival. Let’s think about it for a moment.
We spend most of our waking hours working either for a salary or with chores. We’re busy surviving or improving the odds of surviving. Think about how much of your time do you spend eating, drinking, sleeping. Just to get by.
Would you say work is the purpose of life? I wouldn’t. Not to say I don’t like work. I enjoy it very much. Recently, maybe a tad too much. But I know that’s not what we are here to do. It’s not the purpose of life.
The purpose of life is to break that cycle. It’s to have a festival to appreciate what we’ve done so far. To come together, to self-express, to celebrate. And this has already happened for a considerable time.
Let’s take a trip back in time. When most of us were still farmers and we survived by cultivating land. For example, in Finland, we would spend most of summer farming. Making sure we could have enough food to last through the winter. We were working most of the time because we only had one shot at growing enough crops to last through the cold season when farming was impossible.
So, what happened at the end of the season? Harvest. We got together. Gathered all the crops we could and stowed it away for the winter. The job was done. We had done what we could to survive. Work had been completed. So, we celebrated. We didn’t work more. We celebrated the work we had accomplished so far. We had a harvest festival.
Another example comes from the Finnish “peijaiset”, loosely translated to funeral wake which is for the animals that we hunt. The same pattern repeats. We work towards survival. We complete the task we set out to do. After, we came together to celebrate. We had another festival. I see a tradition forming. The beauty here is that seasons or other realities of the work gave us the rhythm between work and celebration – the ebb and flow of life.
Now our life is quite different. In our modern society we can constantly be improving our odds of survival. Working overtime, studying an additional degree, improving ourselves. The cycle seems never-ending, like a treadmill. Nothing out there to stop us in our tracks. To give us room to appreciate the work we’ve done so far.
We must give that to ourselves. But it would seem we are unable to do that often enough. Too often we hear of weekend warriors, people who pretend to be somebody else for 5 days a week, just to be their selves during the weekend. Only to go back to their old habits. Or working for 11 months straight only to have a one-month summer holiday here in Finland.
How long should we wait to give ourselves what we need? The recognition we want to get every day. The moment to stop and appreciate what we’ve already gotten so far. To be grateful. To be content with today instead someday.
In the future I hope we can find a chance to celebrate more often. And when I say celebrate, it doesn’t mean Tomorrowland. Though that is a reasonable option as well.
Let me challenge you to think of something. How could you find a way to appreciate your achievements every single day? How could you stop to see all the beauty that is in your life right now? How could you spark joy during work, instead of only after work? It’s not easy, I’m still thinking of it myself as well. Sometimes it feels like a struggle.
But it is a worthy struggle. After all, coming together and celebrating, that is the purpose of life.
PS. I know work is more than just about survival. It can be a great source of meaning for your life. I know it is for me. I get a lot of meaning from my work. But I know that it shouldn’t be the only source of meaning in your life. Maybe it can be something else as well.