Earlier this month I posted on a different perspective on “the purpose of life” which helped me greatly. Today, I want to tackle another question which I get bogged down by over-thinking the answer.
What is the meaning of my life?
If I look at meaning as a synonym for purpose, I can suffer the same stress and feelings of failure as finding “my purpose”. I now have a different perspective on having a life of “meaning”. I do believe we all require meaning in our lives to be happy. According to Viktor Frankl, a Nazi concentration camp survivor and author of One Man’s Search for Meaning, we can find meaning through work, relationships, helping others, learning, creative endeavors and spirituality.
Let’s break some of these down and see how they don’t have to be grand – little things give life meaning. Think outside the box with me.
Spirituality can be a walk in the woods, listening to music, gardening. It doesn’t have to be a structured practice if I am not there yet.
Work doesn’t have to be paid work. Volunteering is work and helping others. So is helping a child with his homework. I count mowing the lawn as work and if I do it while my guy trims, I am helping and building on my relationship – a hat trick (pardon the hockey reference.) Laundry is work. Cleaning is work.
Learning is another area that we seem to diminish. Learning does not have to be formal classroom learning. Reading a book about a person or topic is learning. When I made my first pie with a crust from scratch, I was learning. I took a class on using chalk paint and that was learning (and a creative endeavor). My guy and I built a shed and I learned about cement slabs and block work and roofing. Growing a new vegetable or flower in our garden required learning. Even taking a dog training class with Fido is learning.
I always thought of myself as a logical person – very left-brain oriented. I cannot sing – you don’t want to hear me sing. I will never paint a great masterpiece, design a fashion line, write a hit song or publish the a New York Times best selling book. But there are other ways that I am creative. I consider cooking creative. Decorating my house is creative. Writing a blog is creative. Building is creative. Putting together a great outfit is creative. Doing my hair a different way is creative. Planning a party is creative. Putting together a workout is creative. Planning my garden is creative.
I can take in the neighbors trash can from the street and help someone. Holding the door for someone and help another. At the grocery store a few weeks ago, a man asked me about chopped salad. I helped him by sharing how I served it. I hope in some small way this blog helps someone.
What I’m trying to say is that if something doesn’t have to be grand or formal to be “meaningful”. I’m going to look differently at work, creativity, spirituality, and helping others and find meaning in all I do.