Wednesday 19 December 2018

The meaning of life

If you know me then you know that I love thinking about life, why we are here, how to find joy every day, and how to live mindfully and with purpose. I don't make a conscious choice to think about that stuff - it's what naturally pops into my head whenever my thoughts wander. 
Someone else who's also into it are the guys at Holstee. You may be familiar with their manifesto - but if not, here is the video version of it:

Since I'm a fan of their site and what they have to say, I'm subscribed to their newsletter. A little while ago they sent one that was was particularly spot-on, and I've been thinking about it ever since. It was about - yes, you guessed it - the meaning of life. 
Dave, one of the founders, has been pondering that question all his life - something I can relate to. One day his mother gave him a brilliant answer to that question:

"Life is not a problem to be solved, it is a gift to be enjoyed."

So simple, yet so profound. Like with most things in life, there is usually a simple solution to a complicated problem, and this is a perfect example for it!
I believe that it's good to push yourself, to grow and evolve, and that we should be kind to each other and do good. Some people's goal is to leave the world a better place than they found it, and that's incredible! But it can also be very intimidating - unless we apply this goal to our life on a small scale.

Yesterday I was walking Lily when we met the sweetest older lady. She was tiny, under 5 feet and at the most 90 pounds, but she was walking at a brisk pace with a smile on her face, enjoying the sun and the fresh air. As soon as she spotted the corgi she started to enthusiastically exclaim: "what a sweet little dog!" "you are so cute!" "come here you pretty little thing!" Lily, always eager for attention, made a beeline to her, dragging me along and causing the old lady to laughingly wonder out loud, "who is walking whom?" Lily did her little dance around the lady's feet, who oohed and aahed and gave her the proper attention, and said again: "you are too cute!" Then she looked up at me and told me: "and so are you!"
"Thank you!" I said in surprise, even though I should have told her that the cutest out of the three of us was undoubtedly her.
We parted ways, all with smiles on our faces.

I used to think that the meaning of life was a complicated, almost-impossible-to-decipher secret, and that most of us had to spend a lifetime trying to figure it out.
I thought that we had to find our purpose in order to live with meaning, and that our purpose had to be more than going to work every day, getting married and having kids.

Turns out, it's much simpler than that.
We all know the joy we experience when we give someone a present and absolutely nail it. They can't stop smiling they love it so much, and witnessing their joy in turn gives us joy and satisfaction.
Just like this grandfather:

I believe reacting to the gift of life just like this grandfather did to his pair of light-up shoes is making the most of life.
Finding meaning can be as simple as making someone else's day by smiling at them, or paying them a compliment, or finding joy in a little excitable corgi that comes pouncing towards you.

My word for 2018 was joy, and I thought more than once that I didn't live up to it this year. But as 2018 is coming to a close, I realize that I actually did find joy even on the darkest of days, even if it was as simple as smiling at deer crossing on a crosswalk, having my dogs lick my face, or discovering new books and authors I adore.

I believe that we can honor the gift of life the most by enjoying the hell out of it. If we are joyful and happy it will affect the people around us, and what is a better purpose than spreading joy and happiness?

I wish you all a beautiful day, week and rest of the year, filled with joy and merriment and gratitude for everything good life has to offer.

xoxo Miriam



  1. Wonderful post as always, Miriam. You are wise beyond your years! xox

    1. I'm blaming/giving the credit to all of my older friends and Richard: you're teaching me the ways of the wise elders! :-)

  2. This reminds me of something I heard Mark Nepo say in an interview with Oprah. He was saying how people are always looking for heaven on earth. But they are missing the point. It is living your life to the fullest of your ability. To find joy every day and be happy.
    I agree 100% with both of you.

    1. I've always found that the most complicated questions/problems have the simplest solutions. But we have to really understand them, not just hear them, and that's the tricky part. I'm totally fascinated by everything and anything to do with life's big philosophical questions! I never get tired to find out more about it.


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