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Posts Tagged ‘meaning’

In search of a meaningful life

There are many days that I wake wondering about the meaning of life, and how one should engage in making their life a meaningful one. In particular, is my life meaningful, if so is it meaningful enough, if not how can I make it meaningful. Today was one of those days.

As I drove the 30 minutes outside of Fairbanks to a meeting, taking in the low light, pink skies, and endless vistas of a beautiful mid-winter Fairbanks day, I had the opportunity to contemplate this eternal question. Like many before me, and many more to come, I was unable to reach a satisfactory conclusion.

That doesn’t mean my internal discourse was not worthwhile.

Certainly of immeasurable value in my life is the contribution I make to my children, their self-esteem, happiness, and ability to achieve their dreams. I can’t think of anything more meaningful than ensuring that they have these gifts.

Yet, there is an emptiness within me that isn’t sated by parental achievement. This void leaves me feeling guilty, saddened by my own need for more. Really, what more can a parent ask for than the happiness of their children? But the emptiness remains, nagging, pushing, asking for more.

I’ve struggled with this dilemma, should I be giving up my own ambitions to nurture my children’s future? Should I keep a job I’m unhappy with, pursue a career I’m tired of, to ensure that bills are paid, children are well-dressed, and we can keep our suburban home?

And what about the void, the emptiness, the hunger that remains inside me, that longs to leave the desktop behind and spend my days as a person of the earth, running my hands through the soil, the rich smell of plant and decay lingering in my nose, wearing jeans dark with the color of soil, waking to the sunrise, resting when it sets.

What of life? Meaningful life?

Where one spends their day building shelter, then inhabiting it. Planting a seed, then watching it grow, blossom, and fruit. Harvesting a life, celebrating life in death, an active participant in a cycle as old as life itself.

Oh, how I envy the farmer, the fisherman, the carpenter; whose hands know the feel of cold and wet, wood and stone, fire and earth. They breathe reality, and live. I breathe the artificial, and drown.

Instead I find myself driving to work, separated from reality by a pane of tempered glass and the heat of a combustion engine, ancient sunlight burning bright, destined to spend my days searching for meaning seemingly beyond the reach of modern life.

So tonight I turn to words to fill the void, to span the distance between paycheck and ambition, bills and desire.

With each word my mood lightens, my inner artist becoming sated, the world becomes less hopeless.

Tomorrow is another day, with meaning waiting to be defined once again.

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