Navigating Life

The Quest for Purpose

Rui Yi Gan


The Lumineers, Singapore 2022. One of my favorite photos.

What is Life For?

I find myself coming back to this question time and time again. It is a seemingly impossible task to define what is our purpose in life, yet we tirelessly chase after this definition. To many, including myself, finding life’s meaning means liberation. It means finally understanding why we are doing what we are doing and finally relishing life as a present.

The Superficial Satisfaction

For the past few months, I have been in constant pursuit to discover my passion and purpose. I immersed myself in the grind to be better and to be at the top of all salaried elite. I draw my purpose and satisfaction from my relative success among my peers. I chased opportunities that made me stand out, opportunities that made me different. I wanted to feel special and valued. Honestly, this superficial satisfaction is desirable. As social creatures, we derive happiness from social recognition.

The Recursive Answer

Yet, the answer to the eternal question, “What is life for?” often leads us to a seemingly simple response: to enjoy the moment and experience pleasures. However, as I attempted to embrace this philosophy, I found myself questioning the very nature of enjoyment and happiness. Can true contentment be found in the act of binge-watching a television series or embarking on adventures with friends? I believe that such experiences, though enjoyable, fail to satiate our innate desire for more profound and meaningful fulfillment.

The Quest for Meaningful Enjoyment

Introspection and Reflection. Perhaps that’s the key. I’m not expecting a sudden light bulb moment that clears the fog in my head. I acknowledge and accepted that the quest for meaningful enjoyment and life purpose is a gradual process, perhaps something that you achieve without knowing. I hate placing expectations on things as it often backfires. New year's resolutions are great examples of that. However, what I learn to realize is that what is missing is confidence. The unwavering belief that our dreams and aspirations can be realized and made tangible is the cornerstone of a meaningful and fulfilling life.

A New Adventure: Stavanger, Norway

I will be embarking on an overseas internship coming August to January 2024 and I will be spending time in the city of Stavanger, Norway alone. I will be exploring uncharted territory and venturing forth into the unknown, completely on my own. For the first time in a while, I am excited. I am excited to think and looking forward to finding myself, free from the constraints and societal norms that define my life at home.

For those still reading, I wish you all the best in your pursuits and hope that we cross paths someday.

See you again traveler.



Rui Yi Gan

I enjoy writing about life, college, and everything under the sky. Computer Science student in Singapore and a big fan of Conan O'Brien and Rick Riordan.