“The way you get meaning into your life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning.”
I’m a big believer in the idea that we, as human beings, need meaning to thrive. We can survive without it, sure. But we can’t thrive without the belief in something bigger than ourselves.
For me, meaning has three parts: physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
For a lot of people, physical meaning centers on beauty. I’ve tried to move away from form and focus more on function. My body is strong, it has good endurance. I can do the things that I want to, and I try to focus on that. Part of respecting my body is to feed it mostly healthy food and drink with some treats here and there. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with focusing on physical beauty, other than it’s transient. But just because something doesn’t last doesn’t make it less beautiful. A flower is beautiful, but it won’t stay that way. It will wilt and die, as all things do.
For me, emotional meaning focuses on a combination of connectedness and aloneness. I love connecting with those I care about, both family and friends. I love spending time looking at photos the husband has taken, hiking with my brother, having dinner with my parents, or hearing about my best friend’s day. I also love that quiet time when I’m alone with my thoughts, either writing or thinking deep thoughts. :) I need that creative time in order to feel whole emotionally.
Spiritual meaning for me is about connecting with nature. There are so many great gifts around me, and I love to appreciate them. I try to live and let live when it comes to bugs. I love to get my hands dirty in my garden or hike in the desert. As a kid, I loved to walk in the woods behind my house and sit with a notebook. I had a special tree in a small clearing, and I’d take my shoes off and rest my feet in the cool, damp earth. As I write this, I’m in my yard listening to crickets chirping.
Meaning is different for everyone, and I think you have to look for it. I think it can change at different times of life. I know what’s meaningful to me has evolved over time, which I think is great. Humans are works in progress, and I can’t grow as a person without change.