Saturday, August 25, 2012

Meaning of Meaning

I must have written 3 or 4 different versions of this post and virtually ripped the pages out of the screen, scrunched them and threw them on the floor. I've been trying to articulate what I have been feeling the last couple of months about life. The problem with that is I think too much in circles and paralyze myself. The perennial questions that tailgate every endeavor I undertake are: What is the meaning of this? How does this enhance the meaning of my life? And eventually, what at first looked like an endeavor that seemed meaning-enhancing turns out to be just another illusion. So, I have been asking myself, what really is meaningful? What am I looking for? What do I want out of life?

The easy answer is happiness. We all want to be happy. But it gets more complicated when we start asking ourselves what brings us lasting happiness. Buddhist philosophy tells us it is non-attachment and finding the quiet constant behind the loud variables of perceived reality are what bring us true happiness. I think that's true: finding joy in being. When I get quiet and feel my heartbeat, I am grateful for the life I have been given. There is a lot to be thankful for. But we are meant to do more than just breathe and let our hearts beat and be grateful for our lives although I think that's a good place to start. Maybe it's because I don't fully understand Buddhist philosophy, but if I am just happy in being, I would be the laziest person on earth. I gotta do something!

My biggest fear is that at the end of my life, I would look back and wonder what my life could have been if I were courageous. I am afraid of not utilizing and cultivating my talents and dying in regret. Sometimes I wish I wasn't so artistically inclined and instead liked blood and guts so I could be a doctor. (At least if I tried hard enough, there would be an end in sight. And a job!) Trying to "make it" in the arts is difficult. It's tempting to sell out for the sake of convenience and comfort. But I know at the end of the day, I would be miserable knowing I am not living the life I want to live. The flip side of doing what I want to do, however, is terrifying. Uncertainty abounds. I have to plow though a labyrinth of obstacles not knowing when it's going to end. Call it a gift or a curse--even with the odds highly stacked against me, I can't back down. I've gotta try.

Maybe it's because of my dedication to developing my talents (and its attachment of purpose and meaning to my existence), many important things take secondary place in my life like marriage and family. Maybe it's because I grew up in a broken home that I don't have this earnest desire to be a wife and mother to someone. But there are many moments when I feel lonely and long for a companion that I could rely on when things get tough. If there is a man with whom I can feel at home and accepted despite my failures, I think I would be open to marrying him. And maybe, I may even feel encouraged to try without the fear of failure and judgement. Then, he would become meaningful to me. He would be congruous with my life's purpose rather than intrusional. The hardest part would be to let go of my pride and let him see all the imperfections. Ah, the useless pride... And kids--I have no idea how they are going to fit into my life's purpose. I like kids. I actually love them. I guess I'll have to have them first to see why they mean so much.

So, all this rambling is really meant to clarify one thing for myself: I want to live a meaningful life. And that means living a happy, satisfactory life that allows me to fulfill the measure of my creation. And my creation is full of stuff to give!


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