This November, I'm challenging myself to write every day. You can read them all under the "Shorts" category, where each post should be around 500-1k words. Think of them as "less polished" than my usual longer blog posts. This is Day 7.
I've been spending more time this past year contemplating what it means to live a "meaningful" life. I know I don't want to be stuck doing a job I don't enjoy (I don't think anyone does), but there were always distractions and excuses to divert my attention. In previous years, I believed that joining communities to contribute to and raise awareness for social causes would help alleviate my sense of unfulfillment. It did, but I was still hungry for more. The last decade had been a slow burn, save for my career switch to product management. Something was still missing. It took a pandemic (I was grateful I wasn't affected) to inform me that the work I'm doing may not be what I want. So I took the first step to take action — built my first project. Then I slowly joined like-minded makers and creators on the internet who constantly inspire me, especially how they're also forging their own paths to the life they want to live. At one point, I started to feel as if it still wasn't enough. I thought working on my side projects and meeting new people would give me more fulfilment during the day, but my full-time job was still a big part of my life at the time. My productivity and energy levels were low; perhaps the lockdowns contributed to my lethargy and languish.
It turned out "enjoy life as it is without worrying" is already a meaningful life purpose. All this time, I've been overthinking and chasing "meaning", "purpose", "fulfilment" and so on. And I'm sure many of you who are reading this feel the same way. When we have too much time on our hands, we overthink and allow our thoughts to get to our heads instead of letting them be. Instead of worrying over what will happen in the distant future, focus on getting to the next step, then the next step and so on. We'll never get anywhere if we spend our time worrying. The meaning of life doesn't have to be as grandiose as building a billion-dollar business or amassing as much wealth as inhumanly as you can. If all you want to do is travel the world or maybe start a family and provide for them, that's a meaningful life purpose. If all you want to do is live a good life according to your standards (as long as you don't hurt anyone), then that's also a meaningful life purpose in and of itself. Take heart, even if society, family or friends tell you otherwise. Try to live your version of life on the side for now, and don't give up. Once you've reached a point where everyone around you can see you're happy and fulfilled, I'm sure the noise will slowly fade away. I'm trying to too. What makes life meaningful to me? It changes, and I think that's okay. We go through different stages of life, so having a few makes sense. At the moment, it's following my curiosity while deeply nurturing it. Picking up bits of gems and friends along the way too. It's the journey that counts too, right?
"Life has no meaning. Each of us has meaning and we bring it to life. It is a waste to be asking the question when you are the answer." — Joseph Campbell
So tell me, what makes life meaningful to you right now?
I also made a thread of different definitions of what life is about. Click to read more and get inspired!