On Finding Purpose and Peace: What I Wish I Knew in My 20s

June 21, 2024 Mahevash Shaikh

Back in college, I believed that finding my purpose in life would bring me mental peace. After graduating as an information technology engineer, I took some time to figure out that my first love, writing, was my purpose. I thought that I had finally figured out my pathway to peace. Little did I know how wrong I was. Here's what I wish I knew about purpose and peace in my 20s.

Finding Your Purpose Is Not Going to Bring You Peace

What is purpose? According to Greater Good, it is defined as follows: 

"Purpose is an abiding intention to achieve a long-term goal that is both personally meaningful and makes a positive mark on the world. The goals that foster a sense of purpose can potentially change the lives of other people, like launching an organization, researching a disease, or teaching kids to read."1 

While finding my purpose helped me cope with depression and anxiety, it didn't bring me peace.

I define peace as a state where the mind is calm and at ease. One of the biggest mistakes in my 20s was treating peace as a destination. If I had known then that peace is a daily practice, I wouldn't have been so hard on myself for not having everything figured out. And after finding my purpose, I wouldn't have put so much pressure on myself for not being at peace. Maybe I would have realized sooner that living one day at a time is fine -- especially for those of us who live with mental illness

You Don't Need to Have a Purpose to Find Peace

I have realized that purpose is not necessary to find peace. I know this because, in my nine years as a professional writer, there have been a few times when I lost my purpose. I found out that my mind was restless in both cases: when I was living my purpose and when I lost my purpose. I have found that peace is about accepting the present moment, regardless of whether I am pursuing a goal or have lost my sense of direction in life. 

While purpose can give meaning to life, you can find peace (or some semblance of it) only when you embrace uncertainty and live in the present. I wish I had known in my 20s that peace is a state of mind; it has nothing to do with your goals and accomplishments. Well, as they say, better late than never. 


  1. Purpose Definition | What is purpose. (n.d.). Greater Good.

APA Reference
Shaikh, M. (2024, June 21). On Finding Purpose and Peace: What I Wish I Knew in My 20s, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 21 from

Author: Mahevash Shaikh

Mahevash Shaikh is a millennial blogger, author, and poet who writes about mental health, culture, and society. She lives to question convention and redefine normal. You can find her at her blog and on Instagram and Facebook.

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