Kwanzaa’s Fifth Principle Nia | Purpose

Nia | Purpose

by Maya Miller

I recall my first existential crisis, sitting in my English class, 15 years old, staring at a slip of paper that had been through the photocopier one too many times. In faded gray ink were the words: “NAME. CAREER. WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THIS CAREER?”

I had written “neonatologist” across the smudged line and then scratched it out. Suddenly faced with the prospect of at least 10 more years of school felt like the 6th circle of a baby-poop-filled inferno. Luckily, since then, I’ve managed my crises a little better. And through the last six months at The Lighthouse | Black Girl Projects, I’ve refined what it means to me to find and have purpose.

Purpose is finding that sweet spot where your strengths and interests intersect and rest in their power. I’m a decent writer. I love science. I love children. I enjoy a good film project every now and then. Gratefully, I’ve been awarded the Ladner Fellowship at The Lighthouse, which allows me the space to do all these things, even if I do them imperfectly or need a little help. So often, we want to strive for so many things at once, losing sight of our original intent. I suffer from a severe case of “want to do it all,” but by taking the time to figure out exactly what I want to do in my 50-some odd years left here on Earth, I’ve learned how to be still. So, look at your community. Look at your friends. Review your goals before they turn into half-forgotten resolutions. Be realistic about your 24 hours, and you’ll find enough purpose to last a lifetime.

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