Meaningfulness is a choice, a way of thinking and an art of being. I asked two questions of myself in another post which were 1. How do I want to live? and 2. What decisions do I need to make to live a happy, fulfilling and meaningful life? I came up with a list of actions I thought would create more meaning in my life. More meaningful choices so to speak. But there seemed to be something I was missing.
This topic of meaningfulness has been rattling around in my head for a few weeks now. What does that really mean to me? What creates happiness? Fulfillment? Meaning? Not the basic surface actions but the deeper meaning. What is at the core of creating a meaningful life? I think I know now what I was missing. It is Love. At the core of anything meaningful is LOVE! If you Love what you are doing, it will feel meaningful.
If you Love to travel, then spend your money on that! Don’t buy needless things for your home just because you think you should. You think now that you’re an adult with a good job you should have a leather couch so you go drop $2500. You get it home and sit on it in loathing. That’s a lot of money you could have used for an adventure! That couch won’t make you feel fulfilled because it isn’t what is important to you. Buy the $250 cloth couch and go travel!! It won’t really matter what type of couch you have because you won’t be there to sit on it!
If you Love music then go see as many concerts as you can! Your walls could be bare with nothing to adorn them but your ticket stubs and just looking at those will make you feel fulfilled. You will have many amazingly unique stories to share when people come over. How often do we share a story about our $300 pottery barn lamps? Yeah, we don’t. Again, if you Love it then it is a meaningful spending of your time and money.
If new experiences are what you Love, then the fancy coffee maker or kitchen aid mixer won’t do it for you. Instead buy up every Groupon or Living Social deal you can and get out there and try new things. I’ve gone kayaking, paddle boarding, blown glass, thrown pottery, painted a couple of acrylic paintings and done a ropes course 50 feet off the ground. Why? Because I had never done any of those things and they sounded fun. I was happy to spend money on those activities, happier than if I’d bought a new rug for my living room. And as a bonus, I have great memories to share.
Your house no matter how big or small will be a home if it is filled with Love. You will feel content there. If you have a few things that make you happy, that add beauty and have a purpose, things you really Love that speak to you, then they add meaning and you will feel fulfilled.
If you Love gardens, forgo the fancy landscaped lawn and put in flower beds, a vegetable garden, fruit trees and berries. I guarantee you will use the space more and your life will feel more meaningful if you are looking at something you Love instead of the yard you think you should have. Who cares what the norm is. There is no rule about needing to have perfectly manicured green grass.
Spend time with people you Love, like-minded people who share your passions of life. If you have some friends now who aren’t people who bring you up, it’s perfectly ok to find some who do. If you have a friend who constantly undermines what you do or your kids, then distance yourself from them. They will eventually fade away. If they constantly brag about themselves and try to one up you, then again, trade them in! Life is too short. If you Love who you are with, the relationship will feel meaningful. You will feel happiness. If you surround yourself with people who are content and happy you will feel this too. Most importantly if you Love yourself, you will feel meaningful. Our self worth can only be as great as we believe it to be.
Then there’s that work thing. Our jobs. For some having a job that they love is meaningful. It makes them feel fulfilled. But if you just see your job as a means to be able to do other things you Love, then use it as that. If you are lucky enough to have a job you Love that also allows for you to do other things you Love then that’s awesome!
I have a friend who works just as much as she has to, to play as much as she wants to. She has literally seen the world. She made the conscious choice to Love being a free spirit. She doesn’t buy expensive things, she rents a small place to live and she does what makes her happy. Her choices fulfill her. She has created her meaningful life.
My husband is sort of in the middle of road with this. He works in computers and Loves technology. He thrives on problem solving. He does on the flip side wish he could see his girls a bit more each day. But he makes a trade. He works in a field he Loves, that pays him well and then takes specific time away to travel with us or a day off here and there to go do those extra outings with our girls. He is lucky. He has created his meaningful life.
My life is beginning to feel more meaningful. I am a mom, staying home with my two daughters. I Love that! It is extremely meaningful. My trouble was what I was doing with them wasn’t always feeling meaningful. I was not feeling fulfilled and therefore not happy. The TV time, the toys, the iPads, kindles, constant play dates, always other kids & moms around, group classes and camps. I wanted one on one time. I wanted to do less, the opposite of those around me who seemed to want to do more. The new parks, the best classes, always running here or there. I wanted to slow down. Read more books and play board games, to garden with them, take them to the beach, hike in the woods, to just be. So I decided to create the life I wanted. The life that I thought was meaningful. I stopped taking on other moms ideas of what was best for kids or most important. I learned to say no. I am more selective about the number of play dates I have or attend, the places we go, and the activities we do. I choose to do only the things my girls and I Love and not any ‘filler stuff’. I am happier. I feel more fulfilled. I am creating my meaningful life.
Meaningfulness is all about Love. So Love what you do, Love who you are with and most of all Love yourself! With this mindset you are well on your way to creating a meaningful life custom made just for you! The awesome thing about Love is there is no monetary value that anyone can place on its power or importance. It is infinite. Love can conquer anything.
Meaningfulness = Love
Happiness = Love
Fulfillment = Love