A few nights ago, I was laying in bed when a thought popped in my brain. “What is the meaning of life?” It’s one of those questions that you feel you should have an answer, but do you really? Think about it: we are born with no control over when it happens, what we look like, who cares for us, where we live, or how we are treated as babies and children. Then we are pushed into a society that obsesses over skin color, religion (or lack of), gender, sexuality, social status, money and material gain. Around the age of 6, you’re asked what you want to be when you grow up. Any answer you give is adorable and you’re praised for being “whatever you want to be”. Then your bubble is burst by the age of 12 or so when you’re expected to think realistically about “real jobs”. You go through the rest of your like struggling to pay bills, make time for a vacation, find a soul mate, and raise kids who end up repeating the cycle of life.
Humanity as a whole has been through 2 world wars, several hundred other wars in various countries, countless natural disasters, slavery in various forms, a holocaust, a few genocides, famine, plagues, dictators, and tyrants. We now face global warming, unhealthy food/water/air/soil, nuclear threats, and terrorism (also in various forms). We fight cancer, tumors, and viruses. In the midst of all this, we also deal with crimes like gun violence, rape, assault, etc. This world is exhausting! So what is the point of dealing with all of this on a daily basis?
Honestly, I don’t think life itself has any meaning. Cavemen didn’t seek a dream job or save for their kid’s college education or worry about who their public officials would be. They just ate food, hunted animals, and moved around according to the weather. They lived. They died. I think as people became more aware of our existence, we tried to make sense of life through religion, art, and science. We tried to make life less random by creating governments, caste systems, and societal rules. We tried to preserve life through medicine. But after all these years on earth, people still haven’t figured out how to live peacefully or how to treat each other equally and ethically. So much for evolution, right?
Now, even though I don’t believe life at its core has meaning, I do think we can give it some. Many people do it everyday by fighting for civil rights or helping the homeless, creating their best art or building business empires. Here’s how I plan to bring meaning to my life (and yes, it’s inspired by A Different World).
Relax – I was NOT put on this Earth to be stressed, even if it is my go-to emotion sometimes. From students loans to picking a career, I have done my fair share of worrying and I am so tired of it. I chose to NOT be stressed anymore by developing a f*ck it attitude. This doesn’t mean that I don’t care about things, I just learned to control what I can and let go of what I can’t. I also recognized that I was inviting stress into my life via social media. In my attempt to stay informed, I was scrolling all the time and engaging in stories that either affected me negatively or irritated the hell out of me. I eliminated that stress by slowing down on social media, unfollowing gossip pages, reducing the news outlets, and adding more inspirational pages centered around my passions.
Relate – I moved almost a year ago to the D/FW area to be closer to my immediate family. This move also put me far away from my closest friends in Atlanta. Although we are still connected through modern technology, it also has created this false sense of closeness. Yes, I know what cute thing my friend’s sons did the other day, but I don’t know what is going on with her personally. So, I am making it a priority to reach on to my loved ones more, both near and far. I also plan to find volunteer opportunities. Just imagine how much nicer and happier the world would be if we all chose a problem to tackle and worked on it as much as we complain about it? Speaking of the world, we have to start taking better care of it. I try to recycle now, but I’ve started to look into a zero waste lifestyle so I can reduce the amount of crap I put into landfills. I know I alone can’t save the world, but I would like to reduce or eliminate what I contribute to the problem.
Release – When’s the last time you did something just because it felt good? With no concern over whether you were too old to do it, if it was the responsible thing to do, or if you could afford it? I need more of this in my life. More dancing, more exploring, and more travel. Less hesitation, less over-thinking, and less fear of risk. Life can end in the blink of an eye, sometimes with no good reason as to why. We have to make the most of it while can and give it some meaning as best as possible. Or else, what’s the point of it all?