The Meaning of Life
Geesh it’s been over a month since I’ve written anything! I guess I’ll warm up with something simple like the meaning of life. Sorry it’s taken me a while to get around to this one. It’s been on a post-it note on my desk for months…
You know how sometimes you have to look at things through someone else’s eyes to really understand their position on an issue? It’s not easy to do, especially if their position is opposing you. Yet, understanding is critical to resolving opposition.
Now this next part is a bit abrupt. Albeit necessary. I had the un/fortunate experience once (or twice; the thicker your skull is, the more times karma has to beat you to death to get you to listen… but who’s counting?) to look back on my life through the eyes of my own death. Not like you hear about, or see in the movies, where a person’s life flashes before their eyes just before they have a near-death experience. For me it was different. It was also extremely effective. I woke up knowing exactly what the meaning of MY life was, and always will be.
I hope you don’t have to die to find out the meaning of YOUR life. Yours is different than mine, and mine is different than my dog’s, etc. There is no one meaning to all life. All life is different, and therefore why would one meaning fit all? At least that’s the way I see it.
You’ve heard people hint at it… “You’ll never hear someone on his death bed say he wishes he’d spent more time at the office.” And, “You can’t take it with you when you die.” These are great hints at what should matter most in your life. To you. Your call.
Life tests us too, in ways that we often won’t know whether we passed or failed until the test has long been over. That’s how I make many of my own decisions when I’m conflicted about what is the right thing to do in any given situation. I try to think of how I’ll look back at this decision 5, 10, 20 years from now and at that time how will I look back at it as a success? How will I look back at it as a failure? It’s still guesswork to a large degree, but… it’s educated guessing based on how you measure yourself. Will my kids one day look back at this important decision I made about their future as good parenting? A parenting fail? By the time they’re old enough to know how they feel about it, it’ll be long ago too late to change things. At least that’s the way I see it. No pressure. I just do my best and move on.
Are you envisioning yourself old and wise and looking back at your today-self yet? That’s what I do. I think about, if I knew I had only one more day to live, what would I want to sit and reminisce about fondly? I know what MY fond memories will be. Time spent with my kids. A shoulder for them to cry on and a sounding board to help them make their own decisions about the meaning of THEIR lives. Pizza for their college roomies as often as I can sneak myself in. A diaper change or 10 in the night when they’re sleep deprived and wondering if they’ll survive my grandkids. An ass-chewing from them when I bring their kids back from Grandpa’s house spoiled rotten and full of sugar. If I’m really lucky, and karma goes easy on me, maybe I’ll even see Great-Grandkids.
When I look back on my life from my last day, those are the things I want to be remembering fondly before I take my last breath. Those not-yet-created memories are the meaning of the life I want to live. The path I take now leads me toward that goal. As we all know, things don’t always go as planned. You can only connect Point A to Point B if you define both points. What happens in the middle may or may not go smoothly, but having a destination certainly helps to plot that course.
With all that said, the meaning of life is simple. You make it up as you go along, and how much of your life was meaningful (and how much wasn’t) will only become clear to you when it’s over, or possibly in the last few days or hours before it ends.
Some people don’t have kids at all, and therefore the meaning of their lives would be very different than mine. Maybe their meaning lies in curing cancer, or ending world hunger. Doesn’t make mine or theirs better or worse. Just different. I can’t define their meaning of life any more than they can define mine. Only you can define yours.
The hard part is if or when you realize that what you want the meaning of your life to be is almost contradictory to the way you’re currently living it. Like I said at the top, when you try to look at an issue through your opponent’s viewpoint. In this case, you might be your own opponent. It’s a difficult realization to come to, yet also an easily remedied situation. You have a lot of pull when it comes to your own will. Understanding is critical to resolving opposition.
Sneak into your own future and take a peek back at the imaginary road you had to take to get there. Then plot that course.
Cheers from The www.ThreeFiveZero.com Meaning