I think the older we get, the more important this question becomes to us. Some may say that's quite tragic. If we have a purpose in life, wouldn't it be much better to know that purpose when we're 20 rather than figuring it out when we're 60?
I agree, it's tragic if you squander your purpose for your first 20 years of your life (I think I squandered much more than 20). However, I'm not sure that means you don't still have a unique purpose at 60.
The problem is that the younger we are, the less we seem to care about a true purpose. As we get older and see the end starting to approach, we naturally get more reflective.
There are quite a number of people and groups (religions, etc.) that will gladly offer to help you find your purpose. I did a Google search and here is a small sampling:
You'll notice that the first four statements are more about "you" and the statement from Rick Warren is more about "God". However, even with the "Purpose Driven Life" explanation, there is still an open question. If my purpose is for God's purpose, then what is God's purpose? Does he have a purpose or a task, specifically for me?
Personal Development Expert, Steve Pavlina - write down any self-purpose you can think of on a piece of paper. Keep doing this until something you write down resonates with you so deeply that you cry.
Bahá'í Faith- In summary, the spiritual reason for our life on earth is to provide us with a training ground; our life is a period of growth during which we focus on the development of our innate spiritual and intellectual capacities.
Want to Know . info - ...you can start to find and develop your own purpose and intentions by stopping for a moment and asking yourself two questions: "What is most important to me in my life? What are my deepest values and beliefs?" Consider inviting divine guidance and your own inner wisdom to help you with this.
Atheist, Aaron Ross Powell - The atheist, on the other hand, sees this life, the one each of us is currently living, as all we get. Death is final. Thus we need to make the most of life and instill great value in every moment because those moments are of limited quantity.
Purpose Driven Life, Rick Warren - The purpose of your life is far greater than your own personal fulfillment, your peace of mind, or even your happiness. It’s far greater than your family, your career, or even your wildest dreams and ambitions. If you want to know why you were placed on this planet, you must begin with God. You were born by his purpose and for his purpose.
Personally, I believe God does have a specific purpose and specific tasks for each of us. However, I'm not sure we'll ever know all of God's plans for us on this earth until after our time here is done. I don't think we'll know everything because part of our purpose is to keep seeking. The key is to seek from God, and he'll make his purpose for you today, known to you today, while tomorrow brings a whole new adventure.
Jesus is talking about God providing your daily necessities if you seek God's kingdom and his righteousness today. I don't think I am stretching the context here to make my point. Isn't knowing your purpose in life, a necessity of life?
Matthew 6:33-34 (ESV)
33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
34 "Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
This is an open question for everyone, Christians and non-Christians alike. We all are searching for meaning to our life.
So what's your definition of the purpose of life? More importantly, what is your specific purpose for being here? Have you thought about it? Are you searching for it? Have you found it?