(for my daughters)
The influence of religion, philosophy, family, friends, enemies, government, the media and just waking up every day on the air side of terra firma will at some point bring you to the meaning question. It is a question that some never confront and one for which others seem to have all the answers. Be skeptical of both and remember that exclusivity is the derivation of a narrow mind. As it is with most of life, the truth is somewhere in the middle. The only significant answer is one sought by your own intellect and heart. I don’t pretend to have many answers. I have, however, observed that the majority of people that find meaning in daily life also feel that what they do in life matters, even if not to others.
The best opportunity to feel like what you do in life matters is to position yourself to always have options, as many as possible, to fulfill your ability to contribute to life in a meaningful way. The principle avenues insuring your available options are education and relationships. Primarily, both formal and lifelong self-directed education will always increase the probability of opportunity and choice. Secondarily, the cultivation of personal and professional relationships will enhance your capacity to appropriately insert your skills, knowledge and uniqueness into society. Growing your mind is critical, but so is the ability to functionally share it with others.
The antithesis of this lifestyle may be seen in some that contemplate suicide. Often they feel trapped by life’s circumstances, seemingly without escape from an option-less existence other than ending life. How ultimately and completely sad is a life without hope. It has been well said by Alexander Chalmers, “The three grand essentials of happiness are: something to do, someone to love and something to hope for.” Prepare yourself for a life of living your options. One thing is certain, life hardly ever plays straight from our well-intended scripts.