Creating Ourselves
By Creating Our Purpose in Life

There are three thinkers from whom I have benefited a great deal: George Bernard Shaw, Joseph Campbell, and Bill Moyers. Each of them addressed the meaning of life. Unfortunately, some people haven’t taken their advice.

Many people have benefited from George Bernard Shaw including a mentor of mine, Bobby Kennedy. He paraphrased Shaw’s words from Back to Methuselah. “Some men see things as they are and say, why; I dream things that never were and say, why not.” I have used that as my email signature since they first created signatures for emails.

Shaw in his writing hut

While Shaw was in his writing hut, he wrote, “Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” Shaw’s two sentences resonate with me. It seems to me that many of us waste the time of our lives in a vain attempt to find ourselves as if we were lost. That flawed endeavor is an extremely poor use of our time in this world.

Shaw pushes his belief that we must rather create ourselves. It is totally up to each of us to determine who we are to be. If we don’t work at that creating exercise, we will grow old and die. When that occurs, the gift of life will have come and gone, and we missed truly living. Life is all too short to add wasting it. Not getting involved in it will be the greatest misuse of the years that we possess.

Joseph Campbell, professor and writer, said, “Life has no meaning. Each of us has meaning, and we bring it to life. It is a waste to be asking the question when you are the answer.”

Joseph Campbell

Campbell’s point is that living is without meaning or worth. What has meaning, if we address it, is humanity—you and me. We waste time asking the question about meaning when we are the meaning. However, that forces use to discover our purpose and meaning. Essentially, he is saying the same thing that Shaw said about not looking for ourselves but creating ourselves.

According to Campbell, we all possess meaning when we address our purpose here on Earth. What our purpose is in our world is up to us. We decide, but, after deciding, we must engage in using our time for whatever we deem to be our purpose.

Finally, Bill Moyes, journalist at CBS, NBC, and PBS said, “Freedom begins the moment you realize someone else has been writing your story, and it's time you took the pen from his hand and started writing it yourself.”

Bill Moyers

Moyers contends that each of us needs to take the pen away from the other person who is writing our lives. Once we do so, we are free…to write about ourselves. It is a choice about freedom. A person can be enslaved to others who will determine their futures’, or we can be the determiners of our lives. However, the choice is solely up to us. Moyers’ suggestion is freedom over slavery.

This is what we can create for ourselves…the direction and purpose for our lives.

Shaw, Campbell, and Moyers have greatly helped me to create my life, which contain things that are vital for me personally. My purposes may not be like yours. The issue is for each of to create our own reason for being. Often, there is an exhilarating sense within me while I am in the process of creating or dealing with one of my purposes.

However, addressing my reason for being is often difficult and time-consuming. Nonetheless, it is far better than wandering around in a vain attempt to find myself. It provides meaning to me, and I am free to be me. I love teaching, learning, traveling, and my family here in the States and in Myanmar. Additionally, caring for Ginger is a rewarding purpose.

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