Annie Fox for Teens... Hey, Terra!

Annie (AKA Hey Terra!) has been around long enough to have experienced a lot of what Life can dish out. But, it hasn’t been so long that she's forgotten what it's like to be your age. Check out some of the thousands of email questions teens from around the world have sent to Terra. You may learn something useful from her answers:

“What's the purpose of life?”

Hey Terra,

I suppose if I at least knew the purpose of my life, I could at least know why I do some of the things I do. Why I go through the mindless routine and monotony of life day after day after endless day.

You know, I look out of this window every day, and I see these people. Moving! Meandering around. Almost without purpose it seems. Are we all the same? Am I like them? Surely I look up when I walk, not at the ground like everyone else? When you spend your life looking at your feet, you eventually forget to look up, and you miss seeing the Craziness all around you. Look at these cities we build, quite an accomplishment for a fairly unremarkable bi-ped species. I mean, we can go anywhere in the world, though the air, over the sea, even under the sea. I don't know how humans managed to get into this system that we have, or if there is any way to change it now. But I have a feeling it's not right for us. I don't think the universe intended us to live like this. Squinting at one day to the next, never really looking up to see where we are going, never lifting our gaze from our feet to see the horizon stretching out before us, beckoning us to see beyond it, to the next one. Maybe I'm just being a depressing fool again.

I don't understand the entire point of my life. I wake up each day feeling like I have accomplished absolutely nothing... but I don't know what I should be accomplishing. Should I pull off some nationwide mind-altering phenomena? should I lay my head back down to rest, only to wake again to the same lost feeling? What is this all about? I have not a clue as to any of these answers.

I just feel like something is missing. It's probably irrational. And like my mother said, a stupid thought I should get out of my head.

Then again, maybe I'm just rambling and wasting your time. My apologies.


Dear Lost,

It sounds like you may be looking for some meaning to your life by looking out the window for motivation. You say you see people "meandering around... Almost without purpose it seems." But you have no way of knowing where any of those people is going and what their mission is. One of them may be on her way to the pharmacy to pick up a prescription for her sick child. Is her life "without meaning"? Someone else visible from your window may be enjoying the afternoon air for the first time since he stopped drinking. He is filled with a renewed sense of meaning because he is seeing the world clear-eyed and is inspired to reconnect with it with his family. Can you say that his life is "without meaning"?

Sure, there are people who walk around looking at their feet, but does that always indicate a vacuous existence? Writers, artists, scientists certainly walk the streets when trying to puzzle through some creative "problem"... Just because they aren't "looking up" doesn't mean that they are not, at that moment, actively engaged in using their minds. It is not impossible to imagine that the "solution" they come to will, at some point, benefit many others... Either in the form of a breakthrough discovery, an outstanding new work of art, or a brilliant poem, play or novel.

If you truly seek the purpose of your own life then start thinking about what you love to do... Often, following the clues of what you are drawn to helps you discover your own purpose and gives your life meaning. I've heard it said that the "perfect" work for each of us is the intersection between your talent and a need in the world.

Food for thought?

In friendship,


Need some advice? Write to Terra. She'll give you a straight answer you can trust without any lectures.

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