At some point we all wonder “what is the meaning to life?” and I decided I’d ask people just that. What is the meaning of life?

question mark

question mark

Life is complicated and full of uncertainties. Full of questions that will never be answered and of other moments that make you wonder: what’s the point of all this?

And that’s the question, isn’t it?

What is the point? What is the meaning? This is a question that I don’t think anyone stops asking throughout their lives – but that doesn’t mean people haven’t decided to answer that question themselves…and maybe that’s the point: to find your own answer.

So I decided to ask people the big question: what’s the meaning of life?  The first responses I got were along the lines of, “Oh wow, that’s a pretty big question”, “Haha! Geez, Elly ”, and “Do you need an answer right now?! Can I think about it?”. However, my favorite initial response was my grandpa’s.

I picked up the phone and started to say “Hey gramps!” but was cut me off before I could finish greeting my grandpa who immediately said, “I want an easier question.”

I laughed and told him he wouldn’t get a different question, to which he responded, “I don’t know what the meaning is, I’m still figuring it out. I’m still trying to figure out what I’m going to do with my life”.

I lost it. I could barely talk through my laughter and replied “Gramps, what do you mean, ‘going to do with your life’?? YOU’RE RETIRED!”.

The rest of the conversation went similarly, but I convinced him to think about his own meaning; he eventually told me that his answer was “To strive to be a good person, father, and grandfather. To respect others, have a strong work ethic, love family, and to teach kids to do the same”.

His answer was perfect…but then again, everyone I talked to was perfect in their responses. There isn’t just one right answer – but if there was, this would come pretty darn close. 

My grandma answered right after my grandpa; she leans on her faith when life gets hard and looks to it when she needs guidance – this characteristic absolutely shows in her answer. She told me that in her opinion the meaning of life was “to enjoy all God has blessed me with…from nature to my parents, siblings, husband, children, grandchildren, and friends. To be a blessing to others. To work and grow to become more Christlike so that at the end of my life, God will say, ‘Well done my faithful servant’“. Both my grandparents had different yet similar answers, and both were beautiful. In fact, all the answers I received were beautiful. 

I had also asked Kim and Carla, who have become like a second set of grandparents for me over the years. Carla responded with “[inner peace and joy each day]…[with love as a[n] [added] component. There are various types of love, but they all give one satisfaction to give one peace, contentment, and joy. Whether it is family love, romantic love, or general love of mankind: show compassion and kindness. Giving oneself to help others can give yourself a positive peace of mind”.

She continued to advise that you “ just need to make sure it really gives you joy and protect yourself from those who might not have stand up values. Those are life lessons that we learn along the way to use our ‘sixth sense’ to make decisions that give us peace and joy”. (Personally, this answer resonated with me on a different level, because the advice is something with which I still often struggle.) That aside, there seems to be an ongoing (and important) pattern of mentioning love and family.

However, Kim’s answer jumps out of this pattern and is kept short and sweet. 

Finding the good
in all things.

Kim Keopke

He said the meaning was, “finding the good in all things”. This is something many people find difficult in their daily lives. Finding the positive in everything is easier said than done; however, it makes a huge difference when you try.

It’s so easy to get sucked into the negatives of life and let them drown you (especially in high school and young adulthood, when we’re all trying to find our place and path). Seeing the negative is so easy, it’s almost impossible not to see it.

On the other hand, finding the positive is much more difficult…especially when the negative is involved – which is actually the reason I was inspired to write this piece. I have found myself slacking when it comes to searching for the positive, and allowing the negatives to drown out the good things. I found myself asking, what’s the point of all of this? What is the meaning of life? Is there one?

That’s when I decided to ask others and to write about it for those who are wondering the same thing. Kim’s answer is right in so many ways. Life has the bad so that we appreciate the good, but sometimes we need to search a little harder for it. 

I had also had a conversation about this topic with my sister, Eylissa. She told me that she thinks the meaning of life is to spend time with those you love and to make a ton of good memories, because in the end that’s all you’re left with. You will slowly lose other things, and you will lose some memories, but the core memories with those you love will remain with you till the end.

I wasn’t expecting this answer from her, but it is the truth.

Really, memories are one of the only things that can’t be taken away from you; making those memories in the moment is incredible. Her answer jumped back to the pattern of family and love, but had a twist to it that spoke to me.

I asked one final person (who is in high school) just to see if the answers would vary much between ages… and they did. I mentioned the piece I was writing and the question I’ve been asking, to which he responded by saying, “ I think the meaning of life is that there is no meaning. There is no point, so you do everything. There isn’t a reason for things, they just are. It’s about accepting things as they are, and doing it all because there isn’t one main thing you should be doing or main purpose”. 

This answer threw me for a loop. At first, I thought ‘oh no’ because he said that there wasn’t a meaning or point. However, as he continued explaining, it became more positive and truly shocked me. I feel like it relates back to my question of whether or not the meaning of life, or point, is to find meaning yourself. To live and do it all, and then think back and use your experience and memories to create your own answers. 

Asking people their thoughts on the question has been nothing short of enthralling. Every answer was beautiful because there isn’t one right answer.

There are only your own answers. And that in and of itself is poetic in a sense.

So what’s the meaning of life? Well from what I can see, it’s whatever you want it to be. It’s whatever brings you peace in life – whether that’s love, work, self improvement, faith, the past, or the future. It’s your life and in turn, your own meaning.