Or what do you want to do? what do you want your legacy to be? or if you are younger, what do you want to be when you grow up? These are different ways to ask the same question. A terribly hard and vague question to answer, why be?
In fact, I struggled for many years trying to answer it. I wanted to be a doctor, a healer. I wanted to be a computer scientist, build things with my mind. I want to be a doctor again, because my parents wanted me to be one, and the prospect of job security and high paying job was attractive. When I failed at caring enough for school to become a doctor, I wanted to be a scholar, Ph.D and explore the frontier of knowledge. Then after finding out the prospective and lifestyle I would have to endure for the short and long term future, not to mention the lack of job satisfaction from always prooving negatives rather than creating positives, I decided to stop and reevaluate. I went back to computer science, the pay was good, and I'd be creating again. Oh little did I know.
For various reasons I decided to quit and reexamine again, while furthering my career by attending online courses.
We then come back to the question, what is my purpose? I was jobless, still am by the way. I figured creating was enough, but I also wanted the satisfaction of seeing that my creation was bringing people smiles. So as I was formulating a sense of identity for myself I traveled to Taiwan, and it was, well, not much different from living in the US. Or should I say, the lifestyle was completely different, but it didn't make a difference to my mental state. I still had no clear idea of what I wanted to do, or to be. I had a general idea of being a business consultant of sorts specializing on web development, but it had come to my realization that this answered what, but not why.
As time dragged on, I deteriorated mentally. While staying in Taiwan, I met people who were fighting to survive, different situations, different struggles, but they were all fighting. One in particular caught my attention, granted, this is not how I saw her to start with, but an understanding the more I found out about her. At one point I thought to myself, well, while I struggle with figuring out career paths, what if I reprioritize my answer to be a partner?
For a while I was happy not having to answer the question, but reality set in fairly quickly. Suffice to say, things didn't pan out and I was back to where I started. I rehashed my previous ideal, and tried to keep 'helping others create things or services for the betterment of society' as my goal.
Well, unfortunately that still didn't really drive me. Without a target to help, I was still lost. So now I'm in Sydney, still wondering what to do with my life.
During all these struggles I did feel depressed and originally I suspected I was probably bipolar, since every 2~4 weeks I'd go from being depressed and not doing anything to "I can do it, it might not be easy but given enough time, I could do it" for a week and then flip back to being depressed. Nowadays I think it may be that I just have depression, and the feeling of being able to do anything is what people typically feel.
In fact, I'm writing this out on a more 'lucid' day, since during depressive days I tend to not act.
Last couple of things I want to add. I came across this video reminding me of cutting down my why to a single word.
"Truth is singular. Lies are words, words, words." - Madame Vastra https://youtu.be/GXdEWSoRi0g?t=33
Although a single word isn't enough to actually answer the question, it does simplify and declutter the thoughts. In Doctor Who, time lord names are based on their identity. The Doctor, being a healer, and his archnemesis The Master, being well, some sort of ruler over others I suppose. With that I found 'Facilitator' to fit what I wish to be. Today, while reading
The Good Neighbor: The Life and Work of Fred Rogers Book by Maxwell King I came across a passage about him.
... Fred Rogers lived out the conundrum of modern life: embracing technology and using it in imaginative ways to benefit children, while rejecting the dehumanizing aspects of complex technological advancement.
This spoke to me as I've grown tired of the medium I use to consume or create. Consumption of social media has made me feel inadequate, or subpar from time to time. Developing with code is also becoming more complex and the skills learned deprecate very quickly as design choices are made under you.
So have I figured out the why? I haven't. Yet, I also believe the answer will change as we go through different stages in our lives. Hopefully I'll have enough of an answser to drive me forward though.