Why are we here? A question that haunts most people at some point in time. It could be at a time when things aren't going quite the way you'd like, or it could be an existentialist, permanently haunting sort of question.
I think answering that question becomes a lot easier if you don't believe in an after life, or the concept of souls, or god. Notice I don't say God.
Because if you don't believe in those things, this life, of 80 odd years on an average (maybe less, I don't know the stats well) is about all you've ever got man. You ain't gonna get another chance to experience everything life, despite being a pain, has to offer.
So then, if this is what you believe, and I do.. I think we're here to make the best of what we've got.
Notice how vague and open ended that is.
I'm here to use whatever little I have by way of talent/capacity to help whoever I can, to be gentle when someone's unecessarily being harsh and so on; and to taste every kind of food, travel everywhere, read a lot.. the reader understands.
Of course, at this stage, there are no readers.
The upshot of this sort of belief is that suddenly, time seems a lot more precious. Now, all I want to do is what I want to do.
And for that reason, being horribly famous or well respected etc is just not as attractive as it was before. That by itself means nothing. Money by itself, or some really important position in the government means nothing.
What's attractive is anything that allows me to make the most of my time on Earth.
I've believed in "God" for most of my life. But I find this change in me now that I don't. Earlier, I wanted to be succesful. Now, I want to be happy. For some people, like the Dalai Lama perhaps, being succesful means being happy. But what I mean is that I no longer care for success as society envisions it.
It's liberating and it's scary, this non-belief. Because suddenly, there's no super power to turn to. I'm responsible for everything I do. So it's also empowering.
I think this insight stems from both non-belief (I wish I knew another way of putting this) as well as general influences and the odd thinking session. So I'm not saying there's a correlation between non-belief and this understanding of what I'm here for. I didn't think about that question before I stopped believing.
What I AM saying is that when you believe that this life is all you've got, your priorities change. A lot. Mine have.