What Is Life?
A professor once joked that Ateneans are always about "finding the deeper meaning of life" and that made me laugh... and question my tendency to OFTEN reflect and re-assess my life and self, too.
"Why can't we just take AND ACCEPT things as they are?" he further prodded.
Well, I ask myself that a lot, too. Often times, I admit to wanting to just let things be, let go and let God so to speak. But then I realize that reflecting on life and subsequently putting down my thoughts into writing allows my mind to breathe. Instead of replaying past instances and allowing useless thoughts to run in circles in my head, reflecting and writing lets me decide how to regard situations that have happened already, shift my perspective (if necessary), and consider what has transpired a life lesson, a commandment to remember, a saying to live by.
Down to my last days being a twentysomething, I thought I've dwelt too much on adulting, a word and concept invented by this generation... and, well, I've grown to dislike it. More and more, it felt like an excuse, or a tiring thing we all needed to reluctantly do, like a lazy grown-up talking.
On the contrary, thirty, flirty, and thriving gives me license to turn my back on all things adulting and face responsibility and maturity head on. I think about life and think about simply living it. I don't recall childhooding and teenagering when I was a toddler or an angsty tween, too. I just lived through it.
SO WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE (especially for a thirty-year-old like me)?
LIFE was a defunct magazine my dad used to subscribe to.
It is also a song by George Harrison.
Psychology Today says: “the meaning of life is that which we choose to give it.”
For Kanye West: “the point of life is getting shit done and being happy."
I TRIED googlING “what is life” and it GAVE ME the most precise answer:
the condition that distinguishes animals and plants from inorganic matter, including the capacity for growth, reproduction, functional activity, and continual change preceding death.
Now add these all up, take a few minutes or days of reflection, and what do you get? Your very own, tailor-fit definition of the meaning of life. Here’s mine:
Ultimately, I think that life, first and foremost, is meant to be lived (more a verb than a noun). It can be quite tricky navigating through the fine line between "finding the deeper meaning of life" and overthinking. The former takes an active role, while the latter is synonymous to living in your head.
Have you ever stopped to think why ~living in the present~ has recently become a thing we needed to work on, instead of it being our natural state of mind? While we can blame social media for distorting realities and all, that's not going to get us anywhere.
The goal is simple: focus on your offline life, your real life, rather—and keep living. No overthinking. Take calculated risks, jump into the unknown for as far as possible, try and try new things until you die!, and yes, keep living.
but What is living?
Comfort zones are no-growth zones. The achievers and the strong-minded ones often tell us: one must welcome changes, pain, the unknown. And to me, that is the essence living. There is nothing to be afraid of, and as my enabler mother always tells me, how will you know if you don’t try?
I can definitely recall the countless times I used past hurtful experiences to excuse my present behavior. And I do admit that painful (traumatic, even) life events have also caused me to be fearful, at times to the point of stagnation. But the good thing is I knew I had to get myself out of this rut and I never gave up on picking myself up.
The connections between the past and present may be valid, and the repercussions may be true, but what you and I have now—the present—is a gift (thanks for the reminder, Kung Fu Panda) and we have the power to make it beautiful. The present in itself is always something to smile about and . It is filled with hope, life, light, and second, third, endless chances.
HOW DO I LIVE IT?
Finally, remember to live your life. Listen to no one but yourself—first. I say, if you haven't mastered being attuned to your truest desires yet then you shouldn't really be heeding advice of other's. Because then you might be living their life instead of yours, and you wouldn’t get to be where you’re meant to be (and that’s quite sad, to be honest)!
I have personally found myself at the crossroads several times this year, and have consulted friends and family who were there, thankfully, to give me sound advice. But at the end of the day, the ultimate decisions were up to me. From K-drama choices to what I want to wear, I would notice myself always going back to what I really, really want.
Remember that you and I will feel complete today and lost tomorrow, and it can happen again and again because that’s life. It would be boring otherwise! And no matter who you consult, ask, or listen to, realize that it is still your heart's whispers that will truly make you happy. You might take the longer, easier road, but you will always be led back to what you want because it’s where you are meant to be. It's your life. So truly live it.
How about you? What is your definition of the meaning of life? And how are you going to live it in 2019 (and beyond)? I’d love to know and hear all about it in the comments section!