Meaning vs Life
(or how I can’t seem to separate the two)
Sounds real deep doesn’t it? I’m getting way too serious here. I mean, who hasn’t come to the point in life where they asked themselves: what IS the meaning of life? Unless you fall in this (I assume) very small category of peeps, who knows exactly why and what they’re here for. If you do, good for you! Most of us however, need to find their way, looking for direction and sometimes straying from the path they’re destined (?) to follow. As the humans we are, we’re also suffering from a change of mind from time to time. This can be caused by several legitimate reasons, I’m sure you can imagine. Whether internal or external, on a whim or well thought out, our choices have consequences. A change of mind means a change of meaning, which will lead to a change of life. Oh. Man.
I’ve been thinking a lot about this. I know life without meaning is pretty empty, but how about the other way around? What is meaning without life? ‘Silly’ you say? Maybe. But what is life to you? I can only speak for myself of course, but I’ve found the answer is not as easy as it seemed. Because it’s not merely existing. It’s not going through the motions day by day. I’m sorry, but that’s not life, that’s death. How, really how, can I have meaning, if I don’t HAVE life? Then what in the world IS life?
Meaning, as in ‘Significant Quality’ especially: implication of a hidden or special significance (Merriam-Webster Dictionary). That’s what our life needs right? Or should I say, that’s what our life should consist of? Significant Quality. Man I wish every day of my life had significant quality. I wish I could say all my passed days were abundantly meaningful, filled with depth, growth, passion, happiness and everything else extraordinary blissful. I wish today was a day like that.
However, there are still so many days where I Do have to go through the motions, because things need to be taken care of. It’s when I feel like I get stuck in a rut, I might get bored and weary. Starting to ask myself if ‘this is it?’ Now this can go two ways: I can get on with life as is and sink deeper, resulting in a full blown depression, or I can imagine there’s still more to be had and look forward to/work on my quality of life. Either way, I’ll have to be my own pity-party-pooper. Ugh.
My life’s quality has been upgraded many times and I’m certainly believing there are many more to come. It didn’t always come easy, there might have been some struggle (teenage Wien), work (adult Wien) or pain (parent Wien lol) involved. Overcoming my own self is most likely one of the toughest things in all cases, but going in another, possibly opposite, direction and turning my life around, is not easy. Reaching for a new, higher level is hard work. Quality, aka: Degree of Excellence (Merriam-Webster), however, is what you and I decide it to be. I’m sure we differ in opinions about which degree is sufficient or lacking. Which degree is Significant or just…okay.
As much as I don’t want it to be just okay, there are days I have to accept they are just that. I’ll have to take my joy from the little things, which are in all fairness often more significant than I give them credit for at first glance. Taking the little things for granted is a trap in which I don’t want to get caught up in. When I allow that to happen it will negatively effect the Meaning. Appreciation goes a long way. So will gratitude. I’d love to live my life on an all-time high, but reality begs to differ and requires me to deal with common earthly matters.
I don’t always know where I’m going exactly. For example, I’m seriously thinking about looking for a new job, but what kind of job? Even after all these years, there’s nothing that really appeals to me but…writing. Though I still dream about writing a book one day, I have no expectations about earning a living from it. I know, I might be wrong, who knows where faith could lead me eh? And yes, the jobs I had may not have been what I was looking for, or even thought to be able to manage at all, but I did own them. I grew into them and became successful, but that still doesn’t mean I’m looking forward to go through the same process again. But Meaning. If or when I do find a new job, does it really matter what it will be? Since I already proved to myself I’m the one giving meaning to it?
So I’m the one granting that degree of excellence, that significant quality. To myself. ‘Now go write that book’, you’ll say. Ahaha. Yes, someday. Meaning is nothing if my life isn’t lived the way I’m supposed to. Then again, when I live the life I’m supposed to be living, there’s meaning. Ah yes, here we go in circles again! Told you I couldn’t separate the two! All the intentions in the world wouldn’t be enough if I don’t actually act on them. So, Life.
Life, as in the quality that distinguishes a vital and functional being from a dead body (Merriam-Webster). I guess merely existing does qualify as life after all, huh. Is it enough though? I don’t want to belittle anyone’s life, because true, there are many situations in which people have no way to improve their quality of it. A lot in life is out of our control right? However if there’s any chance at all, to make my life better, yes even if through faith alone! I should go for it. I never know what the day may bring me anyways. Y’all know life is full of surprises, good and unfortunately, some bad ones too. Whatever happens, these experiences make me feel alive, because no dead body ever sensed any emotions.
So while my body may be alive and kicking (especially when it comes to the less enjoyable parts), my soul en spirit may very well want to bolt on a whole other level. Mental Health it’s called I believe. My inner being needs nourishment to stay alive and to grow. My mind needs exercise to not grow dull. When it comes down to it, my body will eventually reflect what’s living inside me. Joy will shine from within just as grief and resentment will and I’ll happily take the first over the latter two any day. Though I guess I could play a part for a limited amount of time.
Life, also as in the sequence of physical and mental experiences that make up the existence of an individual (Merriam-Webster). Obviously there’s more to life than physical experiences. My body can’t survive on its own, it’s meant to be directed (ruled even) by my soul and spirit. Mental Me, if you will. Physical experiences alone will leave us empty at the end of the road, no matter how pleasurable they were at the start. To be honest, I can’t really imagine how that would work anyways, call me naïve that’s fine.
I feel like I’m throwing around loads of cliches here, just consider this being me brainstorming about it all. To me life’s not life when I’m basically feeling dead inside. Tell me how you felt ‘alive’ when something unexpectedly wonderful happened to you. I know how that feels. Let me tell you that when an old high school friend found me on social media recently (if you’re reading this, hi!) and we started connecting again, that made me feel so good! We had such a great time as teenagers and it seems we’re still on the same page today, about 35 years later. I know this might seem like a small thing to you, but the fond memories I have of our little group of friends are still with me to this day. But yes…life happened.
‘Life happens’. We use that to explain anything and everything when we don’t want to get into details because hey, that’s on a need-to-know basis. And people don’t need to know. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing, just pointing out that if you’ve ever used that line, you’re included in the ‘sequence of physical and mental experiences that make up the existence of an individual’ group. ‘Life got in the way’, is another saying we like to hide behind. Somehow this always feels a bit negative to me, while when thinking about it, it says the opposite. Wait what…
Yes, life can be really hard when we feel like everything is falling apart around us. When we battle disappointment, sickness or even worse. Life can definitely get in our way from that perspective. Nobody enjoys dealing with those sides of life. But we do deal with it don’t we? You did, didn’t you? I did and will keep on doing so, because against all those struggles, beautiful things arise too. Even more, out of something horrible, wonderful things can grow with time. When life throws shit at me, I’m just getting fertilized for beautiful things to sprout. Life getting in my way simply means I still have life within me. Otherwise I’d see no use to keep holding on. As always, I’m not sure if this makes sense to anybody else but me lol.
Meaning vs Life
My heart and mind, my will, they can be filled with meaning, even if in a slightly other … meaning. I mean to do good, but I’m not always Doing it. I mean to love, but sometimes I Strongly Dislike. I mean to encourage, but sometimes I don’t feel like people deserve it. Should I go on? I’m responsible for my life as well as adding meaning to it. Just so we’re clear: this only goes as far as my control stretches, but I’m not to shy away from my responsibilities.
So when days look all the same to me, I should take a better look to find meaning in everything I do, instead of feeling discouraged, read: meaningless. This is where implication of a hidden or special significance comes in. My seemingly monotonous days, are actually filled with hours of building into the future. Groundwork is never that fanciful, but it pays off in the end when done right.
I’m not talking about circumstances that invade our lives where we have no control over whatsoever. Though we have to deal with them and still can find meaning. Even if only afterwards. Sometimes that’s how it goes. But for the life of me (pun intended) I cannot seem to separate Meaning from Life, nor the other way around. You’re here, I’m here, we’re alive, we Have Life and that’s meaning something doesn’t it? I refuse to believe we’re here for no reason, without meaning. And when I say believe, it’s not only about my faith, my brain cannot except it either. Somebody needs to explain to me how they can think there’s no rhyme or reason for them being alive, and still wanting meaning. Mind. Blown.
So I’m not gonna say our life has meaning, our life IS meaning. As well as our meaning IS life. There really is no versus in my opinion. You and I were meant to be here, that’s just the start. From there we build and add more meaning and more life, we grow, multiply, thrive. We achieve goals, grow families, build businesses, houses, homes. We challenge our minds, nurture our soul, enlighten our spirit and spread it around. We’ll make a meaningful circle on all accounts. We’ll leave a legacy for generations to come. It never has to end.
You know your life’s worth? Think about it. That’s the meaning right there.
Thnx for reading lovely people. Talk soon ❤