The Meaning of Life

by Matt | 1 Year Sabbatical on August 3, 2011

Meaning of Life

People search all their lives for the meaning of life.  They read books.  They find religion.  They go to school.  They take a sabbatical.  They commune with nature.  They seek the truth high and low.  Well today I uncovered the meaning of life on a bumper sticker of the car I was tailgating into work.

The Meaning of Life Is To LIVE It

So simple and yet so profound.  The meaning of life is to actually LIVE it.  Are you actually LIVING life?  What does it mean to live life? Isn’t anyone who is breathing living?  And how do you know if you are really living life?

I think the litmus test that answers these questions is – Are You Happy?  Are you truly happy with your life?  I’m not talking about the days when someone pissed you off and you got a case of the grumpies because of it and cursed and condemned the entire world before sinking into a self-pity party.  We all have those days.  I’m talking about are you genuinely happy and excited about your life, about what you do on a daily basis, about your future as a whole?  I’m talking big picture here.  Do your happy days far outnumber your grumpy days?

Each of us has to come to terms with the decisions we make on a daily basis that shape the course of our lives.  These decisions are heavily influenced by the people we associate with, the way we were brought up, our education, our belief system and a host of other factors.  But the decision is ultimately owned only by us.  So it would behoove us to make decisions that make US happy and allow us the ability to do the things we really enjoy doing.

Yes, I know we don’t live in a vacuum.  Each of us is surrounded by people we call friends, family or loved ones and the decisions we make affect them in different ways.  But ultimately this is your life and as selfish as it might sound you deserve to be happy.  I don’t think that being happy and having great relationships with loved ones are incompatible.  In fact I think you hit your sweet spot of life when you discover how to put all those pieces of the puzzle together.

Do what makes you happy and there you will find the true meaning of life.  Now get out there and LIVE!

A Dose of Inspiration

To get you inspired to take those steps to LIVE your life here are a few people who are out there LIVING it right now.

Tyler Tervooren recently climbed Mount Kilamanjaro on his quest to summit the highest peak on every continent.  He also climbed Mount Elbrus in Russia.

Drew Jacob is leaving a job that he absolutely loves to follow his dream of a self-propelled journey across two continents to meet the gods.

Michael Huffman left his cubicle in June to move to Bali and build an eco-house.

Jenny Blake author of Life After College quit a good paying gig at Google to pursue her own dreams of traveling while working on her speaking, coaching and writing career.

Kim and her husband Brian are in the process of selling their house and everything inside it so they can fulfill a dream of traveling the world.

The Common Thread

And what do all of these amazing people have in common?  They are all normal people just like you and I who made the decision to not accept what life hands them but to go out and actually LIVE life.  Just as that bumper sticker said, they have discovered that the meaning of life is to actually LIVE it.

What are you doing today to actually LIVE?

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Kim August 4, 2011 at 1:24 am

Hi Matt. I’d say you are doing a pretty great job of LIVING your life too 🙂 So glad to have met you.

I was in a coffee shop today and there was a huge art installation that said
NOTHING
FOREVER
and I thought how dang true that was.
Kim recently posted..It’s My Birthday! Kim Turns 30.

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Matt | 1 Year Sabbatical August 4, 2011 at 10:10 am

Thanks Kim! It was so great to meet you at WDS and we’re so excited for your journey. Congrats on selling the house and beginning the final stages before your big adventure. As scared as we are about our big move we have drawn some strength from what you guys are doing. Keep LIVING it!

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Mirella August 4, 2011 at 2:08 am

So amazing isn’t it, how what you most need to know can literally turn up right in front of your eyes.

And you’re right, it’s so simple yet profound. And it occurred to me that this is exactly what I did today. It was simple, yet I felt truly like I was living my life and enjoying being in the moment. It’s the first day of sunshine we’ve had in Perth, Western Australia, for quite awhile (by Western Australian standards) and I got outside and did a bit or weeding with the sun on my back. Then I roasted some pumpkin to make myself a delicious salad for lunch.

It’s been almost 4 weeks since I quit my job to live my life the way I want it to be (although I’m still deciding on what exactly that will look like), and today I felt my old life and old shackles starting to melt away in the most simple of activities.

Thanks so much for posting 🙂
Mirella recently posted..Meaning Experiment of the Week – Be Where You Are

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Matt | 1 Year Sabbatical August 4, 2011 at 10:23 am

Hi Mirella! Congratulations on choosing to live your life on your own terms. It’s funny, Chris Guillebeau published a post just this morning on “How to Do the Right Thing” where he talks about innately knowing what the answer to your own questions are. We don’t need to ask someone else, we simply already know. And I think that is so true. We keep looking for the answers, the meaning of life, when we already know the answer. It’s like the bumper sticker said…just LIVE. Thanks so much for your comment Mirella.

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Andrew August 7, 2011 at 2:07 am

What was it John Lennon said, “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans?”

Can’t believe you found the meaning of life… you’re the envy of all of us!

You make some good points though. Even with your sabbatical declaration, we satisfy ourselves with ‘a’ goal in the future, but everyday leading up to that could be miserable? Enjoy it all, waking up, the morning coffee, the commute to work (ghast! I’m fortunate enough to have a job, AND a car to drive to it with?)..

The counter in your sidebar says 51 days, shit! 🙂

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Matt | 1 Year Sabbatical August 9, 2011 at 1:09 am

Haha!! Yeah sometimes I just get lucky and stumble upon the answers to life’s biggest questions. Your perspective is one we should remember, that it’s not so much what awaits at the end but rather the journey in between. Yeah, that damn countdown just keeps getting smaller and smaller and the list of things to do keeps getting bigger and bigger. Thanks for reading and commenting Andrew.

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Mack Reynolds August 12, 2011 at 9:35 am

to me, living is enjoying the company of your friends as well as the company of yourself. doing what makes you happy, as opposed to what some one else thinks you should be doing, and learning to defend your personal freedom, desires, and ambition.

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Matt | 1 Year Sabbatical August 18, 2011 at 1:49 am

Hey Mack! Good thoughts here. We should never be living our lives based on what we think others want us to do. All too often though we look for approval in others when all the approval we really need comes from within.

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Billy August 28, 2011 at 1:00 pm

LOVE this post; it will make people question their routines and why they are alive. So important!!

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Matt | 1 Year Sabbatical August 28, 2011 at 5:43 pm

Hi Billy! So glad you enjoyed this post. It’s scary how easily we can get stuck in a routine and how much we will put up with before we make changes. I think the longer we stay in a routine the harder it becomes to get out of it. Maybe if we all changed routines more often we’d not only have more exciting lives but we’d reduce the stress of change.

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