The Meaning Of Your Life

A life is infinitesimal in the grand scheme of things. When you zoom the lens out, when you consider the enormity of existence. A life is but a speck in the vastness of time and space. A life is nothing. It matters not a jot.

But when you zoom the lens in, past all of the galaxies and all of the solar systems, past all of the stars and the planets and the moons, and circle in on a single point in time and space. To the moment shortly after you were born, when I had you to myself. When the rest of universe melted away. When, for a moment, nothing else mattered. 

Honestly if you could take everything else away. Every other moment in existence. Everything that has ever been. All the riches. All the mountains and all the oceans. All of nature. All of the stars and all of the planets in the unknowable universe. If you could take it all and give me just that moment, I would live in it for eternity. 

Of course I will never be able to adequately convey what that moment felt like, as hard as your father might try. All I can say is that those few minutes when I first held you were among the most precious of my small and insignificant existence. What you managed to do was fill them with more love, more meaning, and more joy than I could ever reasonably express with words. It moved me immeasurably – permanently towards something more. Something greater. For that, to you, I will be eternally grateful.

You will, I hope, experience many such moments during your lifetime. Moments that move you beyond words. Beyond rhyme or reason. I pray your life will be filled with them. I believe it’s these moments that bring you alive in a way few others can. It’s these moments that remind you why, despite all the suffering life entails, it’s still worth it. 

A problem that many of us experience is we forget. We forget, not the moments themselves, but the feeling. We forget what that true sense of aliveness really feels like. I believe this is partly because such moments are painfully rare during a life that’s painfully short. But mainly I believe it’s because people stop looking for them. They stop believing that there is any point to life. They start believing that their suffering is in vain. So they choose to live their lives in pursuit of immediate gratification. Nihilism consumes and they choose pleasure over purpose. 

Here’s something I desperately want you to understand as you grow up. Something that took your old man a while to figure out.

Life is meaningless because meaning implies understanding. Whatever life means. Whatever the why may or may not be. What it is… is beyond our comprehension and always will be. It is therefore beyond meaning. Ergo, it is meaningless. 

However.

It’s preciously because life is meaningless that we must give it meaning. That’s how you guard against nihilism. That’s how you stop from falling down the rabbit hole. Life is chaotic which is why we must strive to give it order, no matter how trying the circumstances. To live is to suffer, it’s an unavoidable aspect of Being. Which is why we must suffer with purpose. It’s why we must seek to alleviate the suffering in others, however small, it whatever way we can. That’s how we find balance.

The truth is our lives hold as much meaning as we give them. Which is why you must give yours as much meaning as you possibly can. In your relationships. Your work. Your family. You must fill every corner of your precious existence with it. 

If you do, you won’t be concerned with what the meaning of life is. You will understand that the question doesn’t matter. You will understand that your life does and that this is enough. 

If you ask me the question of what it all means misses the point. The point is life itself. When you consider the extraordinary odds against which you found yourself here. It’s the equivalent of winning the lottery many billions of times over. A life, your life, is invaluable son. You cannot put a price it. 

Life may ultimately be meaningless but that doesn’t mean your life has to be. It doesn’t mean your life doesn’t matter. Because right now, today – so long as you’re alive – it matters immensely. Don’t let other people tell you otherwise. Don’t let them tell you that this life isn’t enough. That it’s not worth getting up for. Fighting for. Striving for. It’s your one and only life. It is nothing, but everything to you. Everything.

I realise now that your life, it’s everything to me too.

Happy Birthday Son  

With love, for ever and always, from your Dad.

(Written on your actual birthday – January 6th 2021)


(Thanks for reading everyone. I started writing this in a highly emotional state after I left the hospital on the day that my son was born. I’m curious what your thoughts are on the meaning of life? Is it futile? What’s the point? Do you agree that it’s us who give it meaning? As always I welcome ALL thoughts and opinions. I sincerely hope the rest of you have felt as much love as I have in the past few weeks or so. Wishing you well, AP2)

***

You can see find more of AP2’s nonsensical world views and poor self-help advice here at: https://clear-air-turbulence.com

61 thoughts on “The Meaning Of Your Life

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    1. I love this Haiku. Thank you for sharing it. It’s funny how we spend so much time thinking about/searching for something more. Hoping for something more. All the while missing what’s right in front of us. Here and now. Wishing you well 🙏

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Wow, that was really well written, and congratulations on your new baby! So sweet. Maybe the emotional tsunami we feel with a birth, the whole gamut of feelings all at once, might also include the stark acknowledgement on some level of mortality? I felt that when I had my first baby, the realisation that I’d given him death as well as life, because you can’t have one without the other. I’d never considered that though, and it was shocking. All I could do was hope and pray that he’d have a long and happy life and an easy exit. I wish that for your baby too. For all babies, really, ’cause I’m a mushpot like that. My pointless point though, is seeing in a birth the magnificent Wholeness of existence in a moment, including death as not bad, but just another guest at the party. Er…really was not aiming to be morbid at all, just don’t know how else to express this feeling? So I agree in your idea of life not needing to have meaning, as it’s completely integral with the totality of existence. So many levels! This is a beers-on-the-couch type of long convo though, so I’ll shut up with well wishes all around. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I believe you’re right. The very fact that we are all so close to death – that birth makes you realise how incredibly vulnerable we all are – is exactly where those feelings come from. You raise an excellent point regarding giving our children death. It’s something I believe parents to be should think about. You’re not just giving them happiness but also misery and pain. Life is suffering. It’s unavoidable. No matter how hard we try to protect them – so many things are out of our control. At some point we have to make a choice – do I want my children to be safe or strong? Regarding the final acceptance of our own mortality – I think the sooner we can come to terms with ti, the sooner we can find true peace. You’re right this really is a beers-on-the-couch type convo. Thank you so much for your well wishes. Wishing you and your family the same 🙏

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I think there’s a lot of truth to life having as much meaning as we give it. I’ve thought for a long time that life is not so much something that has or doesn’t have a meaning, but rather the conditions for meaning to be possible, and within those conditions we find meaning.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. That’s a wonderful way to look at it. A great deal of meaning in my life has come from periods of suffering – it’s from that suffering that I have often found the greatest meaning. Had I not I think much of that suffering would have been unbearable. Thanks for sharing your insights 🙏

      Liked by 1 person

  3. A lovely letter to your son. You remind me of that which I forgot. Which you correctly point out we all do because we don’t have those moments of pure love often enough.

    As to at least part of the questions you posed, I remember reading this somewhere, or perhaps I heard it on a television show: if nothing matters, everything matters. Basically what you posited. The meaning of life is something I struggle with. Not in general, what it should mean for people, but in the specific. But then, the distant view is always easier.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks Em – I like that “If nothing matters, everything matters.” I’m guessing we all struggle with the notion of what life means. I think the ego is always looking for more – hoping that it can somehow live on for eternity. Meaning or belief is a way if guarding against our irrefutable mortality in many ways. However I don’t think that’s a bad thing. The truth is we are all part of something much bigger. We are all interconnected. I like to say, ‘We are nothing if not those who came before us and we will be for nothing if we don’t serve in honour of those who come after.’ Meaning is something we must instil – it’s necessary. It’s what eases our own suffering and gives us peace. I believe we are meant to serve a greater good. God or no god. Not because it will matter in thousands of years to come but because it matters now, today. Look at what is right in front of you. That’s where the meaning lies. That’s what matters. Wishing you the very best Em – thank you for sharing your thoughts. 🙏

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Lovely post! As always brother.

    Life, I would say, is like salt to existence, a flavoring. it’s very beautiful but as you say, you are the person who gives it meaning and purpose. I will do a post on it because there’s so much I can say about life…

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Yes I did firefly. Well actually Tuesdays post was stolen from this in truth. I just hadn’t finished editing this letter for my son. I’m so pleased you enjoyed it. Completely from my heart. Wishing you well firefly 🙏

      Liked by 2 people

  5. A wonderful post. Full of doubt as I am about the true nature of the universe, it is indeed up to us to fill it with meaning. To set out right or wrong where none may exist. To define evil even though the universe may not recognize the word. And likewise good. Many congratulations on the birth of your son.
    Anthony

    Liked by 3 people

  6. AP!

    Great article.

    It’s always a pleasure to see you taxi on these literary runwaysl

    Life! Oh life!

    You have put it best. When you zoom in, you actually begin to recognize and appreciate it. Life.

    I have learned to learn from the past, plan for the future but always to live one day at a time.

    I hope you are well, brother!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks billy. That’s right. The tendency of the ego is to always look for more. To look beyond. But all the meaning we need find to live a full life is right in-front of us. As you say – plant both feet firmly in the present with one eye on the future. Wishing you well too brother 🙏

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Nothing wrong with being in an emotional state, especially after a huge event like that! Congratulations on your new arrival! I often think about how unimportant and infinitesimally small we are – usually after I’ve done something bad, so I don’t beat myself up too much. Instead, I’ll say something like: “It’s not cosmically important, what you did, so can you just give yourself a break?”

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Hi AP2. I came across this blog post because I noticed that you were following my blog AH-THENTIC, and I checked out your site. I enjoyed reading your post. I have definitely questioned the meaning of life a lot lately. I do wonder what the point of it is, and I have researched what happens when we die. I’ve read about NDEs (near death experiences) and people’s brief time in Heaven. And even after all of that there are still questions. It is beyond meaning. So I strive to give it meaning in small steps towards my goals. Thank you for your insight!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much stopping by and sharing your thoughts. I’m pleased you found some value in mine.

      I read something recently that got me thinking. It’s from Jordan Peterson who said:

      “In a million years, who’s going to know the difference? The proper response to the statement is not, Well, then, everything is meaningless. It’s, Anyone can choose a frame of time within which nothing matters. Talking yourself into irrelevance is not a profound critique of Being. It’s a cheap trick of the rational mind.”

      Maybe we only need to see what is right in front of us instead of searching for more? We live today – in the present moment only. That’s always the case. I believe the meaning to be found in the present is bountiful. Keep striving in whatever capacity you can towards your goals. However small. Because they matter today – now. They have far more meaning than you know.

      Wishing you the very best on your journey. 🙏

      Like

      1. To be honest, I didn’t know people were following me! Need to work on my technical skills! 😉

        Thank you for sharing the quote! I had to read it a couple of times to grasp it! Also, I like “I believe the meaning to be found in the present is bountiful.” I invite you to peruse through my blog history as I too talk about meaning and purpose. Here is one. http://www.deannareina.com/perspective-to-perseverance

        Like

  9. It is through cherishing these moments that we give our lives meaning. Whatever one’s beliefs, the only person than can take a step in whatever direction is the individual. Acknowledging when something beautiful happens and taking the time to appreciate it is one way we can imbue the moment with meaning. Sort of like a mental snapshot, memories to come back to and remember when things are tough – because there will always be times when they are. Thoughts and emotions that drive us forward, and help us encourage others to do the same.

    You’ve captured so much beauty in your words, from the moment a life is created, through each moment of life thereafter, all the one up until our last one this earth. Just beautiful. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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