Meaning of Life

What does a typical life look like? Is this what your life looks like?    Now what would your ideal life look like?  The differences between what you may want your life to be and the life you are living right now depends solely on your view on the meaning of life.

So, how do we reconcile the two views?

Society’s expectations

We begin school at age five or six, where we sit at a desk following orders for the next thirteen years.  From there we either head off to college or join the work force.  Either way, by the time we’ve reached our early twenties we are expected to work  a 40 hour work week (at least) until we reach the age of 68.  At which time, if we planned properly we can retire to a life of leisure.

In between all that, we are expected to marry, buy a home, have 2.5 children etc.  We accumulate all kinds of material things over the course of our lives, much of which we periodically go through, pass on,  then head out to buy more.

What an ideal life could look like

If I were to list the most important things I want in my ideal life, the dream we think we never can have it would include the following:

  • Close family ties
  • Good friends
  • Much laughter
  • Time for relaxation, (when I choose it)
  • Good food
  • Time spent in nature
  • Freedom from stress
  • Love and be loved
  • Safe roof over my head
  • Work I enjoy doing

Some where along the way, my image of how I was expected to live my life didn’t match what my heart told me I needed.    Looking at my list above it was relationships with others and time for solitude that were what my heart desired.  I decided I didn’t want to have any regrets later in life.  What are the top five regrets most common at the end of our lives?

So what is the meaning of life?

As I see it, we are here to experience what living feels like.  To benefit from the wonders around us in the natural world.  A good friend of mine tells me we are here to live as close to perfect as possible to reach heaven when we die.  I ask him why God would surround us with so much beauty if all we were supposed to be concerned with was retuning to heaven, we could have just stayed in there if we weren’t going to absorb everything we could from life here.

If I had gone to school with the only thought that I was biding my time till I entered the workforce. Would I have paid any attention to my classes?  And why should I have been worrying about what was going to happen ten or more years down the road instead of worrying about the test coming up that afternoon.

Could I really only be alive to work at some job I hate, missing the sunrise, or my family because I have to work overtime?  Or could the meaning of life really be as simple as to enjoy the wonders around me and grow from the experiences I can find? If you find you don’t have an answer to the question what is the meaning of life, here are a few answers.

So what do you REALLY want

Barbara Sher in Wishcraft  says: “What you really want is what you need.”

  • So do you need a larger house?
  • Do you need a Big screen TV
  • or that cruise around the world

I believe we can life a good honest life, while enjoying the moment.  I don’t want to live for tomorrow and miss today.   I believe it is this very difference, our view in what we are living for that determines how willing we are to live the life we think we can only dream about.

The question between my friend and me is this.  If I live my life for today does that mean tomorrow or a day in the future won’t be as good?  He has conceded that my life looks pretty good.  Of course I have to work, but I can keep my working hours down to approximately ten per week and I can choose when I work.  That leaves me flexible to fit in all experiences I want to have.

According to Barbara Sher, I  have what I want because I fulfilled my needs, have you?



  1. I love this post! I believe that I am lucky enough to have everything on your list. Mostly. I still get stressed, but have the resources to deal with it. We all get stressed sometimes, especially working full time, maintaining a home and raising children. I am, however, learning to incorporate my children into some of the daily chores so that life is less hectic and more balanced.


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