What makes up our lives? Little things, really. Repetitions of daily tasks, small annoyances, small joys, good songs, songs that make us wish we had the guts to cut off our ears, sunlight, raindrops, pebbles, paper cuts, new discoveries, old news (have you ever considered how oxymoronic it is to say ‘old news?’), breezes, tastes, the list goes on and on and on. These little things, they are not very mind blowing, they probably won’t make history. They might not even make it into your journal or long-term memory. Some might say that because it is not big events that are marking life’s procession, that their life has no meaning. These people are probably right.
I disagree completely with these people. I personally believe that life is bursting with magic, and it is these little things that add and multiply to produce life’s wonders. But, if these people believe their lives have no meaning, they are probably right. Either because they chose a path devoid of true joy or because they have failed to learn that meaning is something one must ascribe, something for which one must search. Meaning is usually right in front of your face. But, some people live life with their eyes closed.
I find I wish to address each path of “meaningless” living individually. Number one: a person has chosen a path devoid of true joy. These are they who have somehow lost the light of their inner child and believe that “things” make meaning and bring happiness. These are they who think, “If only I had enough money to buy that car, I’d be happy. My life would mean something.” These are they who expect an, “Ah. I have arrived,” moment to occur at some point, thus being filled with the knowledge that their life finally means something. These are sad souls.
Number two: a person has failed to learn that meaning in life is something one must ascribe. These are the people who when a whirlwind of autumn leaves tumbles on top of them as they walk beneath a tree, think nothing of it. These are the people who when they get a hug from a four year-old simply shrug it off. These are the people who, if they are in a preparatory phase in life, think they can contribute nothing and that all their actions are empty. These are they who have forgotten.
Sometimes the meaning in an action is obvious. There is no question. But, sometimes we have to find it, work for it. As a dancer, I give this example: if I am doing choreography, there is a mighty difference between simply following the steps and doing the steps with my heart. The odd thing is, I can move in the exact same way, but if my heart is in it, it makes all the difference. Seriously. I could, if I so chose, stand still on an empty stage, but if I did it with my heart, it would be amazing.
My current situation in life is another good example. I am in my “starving student” phase of life. I still live at home, am currently unemployed (yea, businesses going under), and my life mainly consists of going to class in the morning and doing homework in the afternoon and evening. So, where’s the meaning? Well, I have plans for when I graduate. That’s something. But that is in the future. What about right now? Today, as I walked across campus I kicked up some dried leaves. That brought a smile to my face. I write weekly. I reach few people with my writing, but I like to think that as my words are digested someone, somewhere is impacted positively by them. As I continue to gather information, I continue to learn how to use my knowledge (this is always an important thing to do). I meet new people, build relationships. Sometimes, I sleep. This is a big, meaningful event for me, as an insomniac. Basically, everything I do, if I let it, enables me to grow as a human. Everything. Big or small.
The world doesn’t always ascribe meaning to what I do. In fact, I’d say most of the time the world doesn’t care. Especially because I typically fall into what the world calls the “oddball” category. But my life means something to me. My life means something to Pyewackett, my cat. My life means something to everyone who receives a smile from me. My life means something to my future bookstore customers. My life means something to my brother, at least when I bake brownies. My life, big events or no, has great meaning.
If anyone reading this has yet to learn how meaningful his or her life is, please make the discovery necessary to realize the meaning your life has. Make changes, if they are needed. Open your eyes wide. This is your life! Make it mean what you always dreamed it would when you were little. To quote Mr. Magorium, “Your life is an occasion. Rise to it.”