This was a big thing for me a few years ago, the main question I kept coming back to was:
What is the point?
Why was I on on this planet, surely my whole purpose is not to live have kids and die. I couldn't wrap my head around the why's. Why should I bother going to work, what is the point in earning money if I'm just going to die, what is the point in having kids if they're just going to die. Life just seemed so pointless, like the only point of living was to continue others living. It's a strange concept to understand if you've not been in that place but it spirals. Soon what's the point in going to work turns into what's the point in seeing my friends or what's the point in having a shower and eventually you get what's the point in leaving my bed. All thoughts of the future disappear under a black cloud.
Recently, I've revisited this in my head and biologically speaking I know that the point of life is to have children who can then go on to have children (fecundity). So I wasn't far off in my morose thinking. But I think we all know it's more than that. If the point is just to live why do we have such good social skills and large brains? Plus it's 2017, not everyone does have kids and that has become completely acceptable, thank goodness!
So, lying awake in my tent on the gorgeous Fraser island, with people partying around me, I asked myself what I wanted out of life, what is the point of my life going to be?
The answer shocked even me. To be brutally honest, I'm not sure I want kids of my own. We live in an overpopulated world with a lot of problems. I consider myself an eco warrior on a very small scale; I'm vegan, I carry a glass straw and I try to avoid plastic. These are not even a drop in the ocean compared to the impact of having a kid. That's not to say I don't like kids, in fact something else I realised was that I do need kids to be a part of my life. I need to be able to have an impact in some small way in their lives. As a teacher, an aunt or maybe even a foster parent some day.
It sounds, I think, like I've just signed myself up to a certain lonely life, but I came to another conclusion, though this one I've known for a few months now: I don't need another person to make me happy. I can be completely content on my own, in fact I'd go so far as to say I am happy on my own, I don't need a partner. I do want one, but I don't need one, and there is a massive difference, trust me. There problem for me is I'm almost too independent, some people want to be needed and the truth is I will probably never need someone else.
It's strange, being that I've grown up on the Disney fairytale of knights in shining armor and happily ever afters. I think I assumed like most kids that at some point, inevitably, I would find a man get married and have kids. I say that with none of the pain it is normally said with and all of the mundanity that I believe it to contain. It's great if that's what you want, truly it is, but it doesn't inspire me with any zest for life. And coincidentally, even Disney have realised this, gone are the princesses being saved by the princes and the rise of the strong independent woman has begun.
The only other thing I wanted, really truly needed out of life was happiness. It can come in many forms, from many different sources, but I need to be happy. I can be more happy living in a tent with the wilderness around me than in a mansion, I would be more happy having one really good friend than a hundred just so so ones. Whilst I love working and I love teaching, becoming head of department or getting into SLT won't make me happy, the pay rise won't make me happy. I want to earn enough to be able to be comfortable but I want the freedom to have a form group and really have time to help my students. I want to have time to chat to them at the end of the day rather than have my head in a pile of marking, time to call their parents rather than sending a hurried email. I don't want to spend days worried that I crossed a line because a kid ran up to me and gave me a hug.
Before traveling I used to say my aim in life is to own a house with a pool, that's how I'd know I'd made it. Now I think a paddling pool would do it! Or maybe I'll dig a hole with tarpaulin and just fill it up!
So you see, I guess I learned a lot on Fraser island.
I'd love to hear what others 'need’ out of life, if you fancy leaving a comment below.