I know what you’re thinking…”Contemplating deep philisophical questions in between bench sets, are you?”
You might also be thinking, “Is that a sports bra, or a bikini top?”
These are both great questions, but I am going to choose to leave them unanswered while I attempt to answer an even better question, “What is the meaning of life?” for you in 27 points (for my 27 years? – it really just happened this way):
- The meaning of life is experience through the eyes of a child. Absolutely lacking fear, asking what ever’s on your mind just because it’s on your mind (and then questioning the answer, “but what if…?”), actually feeling what it’s like to really run as fast as you can (because when you try as an adult, you’ve probably either forgotten how to push yourself to that limit, or you fear your leg muscles might tear if you move them at that rate).
- It’s that feeling of riding your bike for the first time, training wheels off, and the smile that naturally falls on your face when you realize you’re really doing it by yourself. And then it’s having your dad scrape you up off the ground when you inevitably wipe out (because you were going so fast). The meaning of life is having your mom clean the wound with peroxide (or whatever super-healing agent you had in the house). Most importantly, when the tears have dried and your Band-aid has been lovingly placed, it’s asking, “Can I go back outside and try again now?” and it’s going.
- The meaning of life is going through that awkward-preteen/tween phase, and probably still thinking you need a boyfriend or girlfriend even when you don’t know the first thing about what’s going on with your body. It’s that rush you get when you’re at the movie theatre watching a flick that you weren’t old enough to see, and that boyfriend that you’re too young to have reaches over and holds your hand for the first time.
- It’s all the heartbreaks that ensue. And all the friends that say, “You don’t need him anyway.” It’s thinking, “I couldn’t possibly love again,” and then it’s dusting yourself off and falling for another one.
- The meaning of life is kissing all of the frogs until you find your prince. How do you know your prince from the amphibians? They all look like your prince at first (and maybe act like him, too), but he is the one who actually treats you the way you always dreamed of (and can do it for longer than a month). Yes, he really exists. He probably even comes with most of the characteristics you wrote on your dream man list (and more)! Please note: the “more” includes quirks you couldn’t have imagined existing. Just go with it. 🙂
- It’s buying your first car – exactly what you wanted – the one you looked high and low to find. It’s getting that phone call you’ve waited days for and being hired for the job of your dreams. Making the down payment on your first house. Closing the big deal. Hanging out with people you thought were “famous” and realizing they are exactly the same as you, only with a little more (or different) life experience.
- The meaning of life is sharing from the bottom of your heart something that is near and dear and absolutely terrifying to share, and then having the person across from you totally get it.
- It’s them wedding day feelz of, “Oh my God, am I really going to do this? Am I really going to spend forever with this person?” And then walking down the aisle and looking up into the eyes of your best friend – that person who you’ve already been through a fairytale-of-sorts with (not exactly like the movies) – and as you see them (and really see them for every good thing you love about them) everything else fades away. The meaning of life is realizing that you both together have been perfect in your own way and you wouldn’t rather spend the rest of your life with any other human being on the planet.
- It’s that feeling that you get when that same person’s ^ skin brushes against yours. You’ve never really felt anything quite like it.
- The meaning of life is learning how to breathe. I mean, really breathe (a good yoga studio will do as a great place to start learning).
- It’s starting your very own business and putting in more hours in the first quarter than a full-time employee puts in in a year, having no clue what you are doing, and wanting to give up 732 times. It’s failing 234 ways. The meaning of life is somehow finding a way to get up and keep going every time failure knocks you down. It’s when, after you’ve gotten up that 234th time, your big break comes – that sign you needed to know you could really achieve anything you set your mind to in your business.
- It’s knowing you can really achieve anything you set your mind to in life.
- The meaning of life is walking out from a squat rack with an obscene amount of weight on your back (that kind of weight that is about 2-3x as heavy as when your mom first started saying, “You’re going to hurt your back!”), hitting below parallel with perfect acceleration and bar path and having all of your muscles fire exactly like they are supposed to as you stand up in what seems like an eternity but when you watch the video later it was really less than a second. And it’s having people who love you or simply get your love of the barbell cheering for you, because they just witnessed you do something that you once never knew would be possible.
- It’s knowing when to eat a whole bag of family size chips, knowing when to have “just one”, and having the self-control and will power to actually have just one. The meaning of life is actually choosing to eat more green beans just because you love the way you feel when you eat more vegetables.
- It’s getting absolutely lost in a good book that transforms your life the way no movie ever could. It’s reading book after book after book well into adulthood simply because you’ve finally learned how to love learning itself and not because someone told you you had to read it.
- The meaning of life is getting so lost in an activity you love that it actually makes you forget to eat.
- The meaning of life is seeing life go full circle. With your first pet who was too big for his own good. With your grandpa who loved to buy you Wagon Wheels (even if you didn’t like to eat them) and your grandma whose favourite pastimes included feeding you too many cabbage rolls (you liked to eat those). The meaning of life is putting to rest the loved ones you were so close to it still hurts more than anything you could have ever imagined, but when you reflect on the way they lived it gives you a motive to live your life even better; you want to try to grow half their best characteristics in the years you have left.
- It’s being comfortable enough with your body to rock a bathing suit even though you know your structure is still not “ideal” because you’ve actually learned what it is to love yourself. And then it’s forgetting about your body all together when you choose to return to that child-like frame of mind as you run full-tilt (or as best as your adult body can manage) into an icy-cold lake and dive in head first. Who just dips their toes in? You are fearless! What’s body image again? Oh yeah, you’re swimming and having fun in the moment like a child so you don’t care!
- It’s the quietest night on a lake surrounded by the Northern Lights dancing so fantastically bright that it makes you think they should also be making a sound.
- It’s cuddling a pet, and taking a moment to be absolutely fascinated by the tiny creatures that roam the Earth and bring us so much joy.
- It’s learning to put yourself first, but still care for those around you, like the lactose intolerant person who has a piece of cheesecake because, cheesecake! and then apologizes to the loved ones around because, love!
- It’s learning to love the struggles as much as the triumphs, to step outside of yourself and see your loneliness (or whatever you’re feeling) as beautiful because you know that it is only temporary, and it exists to teach you something. The meaning of life is really allowing yourself to feel it all. The lows and the highs.
- It’s staying up all night because something (or someone) is exciting enough to make it worth the exhausted feeling you’ll have to face tomorrow.
- The meaning of life is being woke up early by excited kids on Christmas day and seeing their faces light up and watching their imaginations start stirring as they open their new toys and somehow find a way to take you into a world that you forgot existed. It’s learning what it really means when you wish someone a “Merry Christmas,” because this year, everyone in your family actually got along flawlessly and really celebrated.
- It’s having friends who you can let all your walls down around and they still love every single bit of you. It’s becoming an aunty for the first time, and yet getting the same feeling you got that day every time your nephew busts out his lightsabers for you to play with him.
- It’s thinking you’ve loved as much as you possibly can when you have your kids, and then realizing you were wrong when you become a grandparent.
- The meaning of life is to have only positive thoughts when you breathe your last breath. To have no regrets. No “I wonder what ifs…” To have known you really gave life your best. You didn’t miss out on a chance to tell someone you loved them. You didn’t stay sitting in a chair when someone asked you to dance. The meaning of life is knowing you didn’t wait for life to happen to you and to show you it’s meaning. You went out and created your own.
My wish for you this year is that you learn how to chase the huge dreams while still experiencing and relishing the little things along the way.
You can do anything you set your mind to. You can even establish your own meaning of life.
When you’ve written your own meaning of life, please email it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would absolutely love to hear it, and if I think my audience would, I will publish it here.
If you want help learning how to do the big dreams inside your heart and mind while relishing life’s little moments, sign up for my program Projekt Possible.
Photo Credit: Warne Photography