I find myself hearing the phrase “what is the meaning of life?” a lot lately. There has been some profound attempts at answering this age old question, some not so profound. Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy chalked it up to a number, The Simpsons left it pretty open to interpretation and various other movies, TV shows, books and songs have also had a crack at finding the answer.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying my answer is correct, or even incorrect, I’m only saying it’s the one I like the best. I thought it would be worth sharing in case you like it too.
What is the meaning of all this?
Well, I don’t believe there is just one meaning, one single answer like the product of a math problem. I don’t think there is one right answer because quite frankly, no one has answered it have they? I refuse to believe there is only one way to use the eighty odd years we have correctly. My answer is that there is no one answer, just like people, the answer is unique to each and every person.
Before you get all “man this dude must be so high right now” on me, let me explain my reasoning which I can assure you has not been fueled by drugs of any kind. If you have been following me lately you may have noticed that I am going through something of an existential crisis, whether it’s been brought on by my recent health issues I don’t know. What I do know is that I have found myself thinking about a lot of very complicated things and life is definitely at the top of that list. I’ve been looking for answers to what it is I’m supposed to do for what feels like a life time. Thoughts like “am I being a responsible adult making choices like this?” and “should I be doing this instead of this because how long can you keep up these childhood dreams for?” are constantly plaguing my mind. I find that writing about it and seeing the words before me tends to help make sense of it all a little better. So here we are, writing about what is in my head, swirling around and making me doubt every single thing I do.
This got me thinking about the meaning of life and how people who I would define as “successful” would have come about doing what they do. It’s pretty easy to think about what the meaning of life was for someone like Leonardo da Vinci or Steve Jobs, their names will live on for many years to come and they will be known as pioneers for different reasons. But what about someone like me? Someone who may never achieve anything that great or have anyone remember my name after I’m dead? I don’t know, but I feel like the meaning of life for everyone is to essentially just be themselves (stay with me here, I’m not about to go all preachy on you…kinda have already though haven’t I?…sorry.). The thing is, we are all part of this world, this tiny yet massive bubble of existence. That means that everything we do effects every other person in some way or another. For example, someone invented the paintbrush for some reason, probably because something happened which made them think “hey this would be a lot easier if…” and hey presto, the paintbrush was born. Are any painters known for giving thanks to the person who made the tool which would catapult them into the history books for hundreds of years? None that I know of…
But still, someone, some where had some reason to make the very first paint brush and in some way affected every single person who has ever seen a painting or used a paint brush, even today. I’m using this as an example because I don’t think that person knew what they were doing, or how much they would effect the world. I know some of you might consider this miniscule but it can be applied to just about anything really. Every idea, every progression and every innovation is influenced by another persons actions. The person who invented the paint brush didn’t invent it for a specific person, yet there are hundreds of famous paintings still in existence today that shape the worlds’ history. All that from a little fluffy stick is pretty impressive to me.
The point I’m trying to make is that we are all in this mindset that in order to live a meaningful life we have to do obviously meaningful things, like earn money, have a family and buy a house. I don’t think that is the case at all, at least not the be all and end all of it. I think we all have to do what feels right, assuming you’re not hurting anyone or anything like that, and the rest will just all fall into place. Even if you end up failing miserably, you never know who you might say or do something to that will give them the push they need to change the world, even if it is just a paint brush.
And I like that meaning of life better than any others that I’ve seen.
(sorry if it got too hippie there for you, it’s been a long
day week year life.)
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