A Meaningful Life or Not?

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Do we owe it to ourselves to live a meaningful life?

Yesterday, whilst Suze and l were out in Deal doing some shopping and attending to the various bits and bots we had between us, we stopped for a quick bite of lunch in a small diner. It was busy, packed in many respects, with a ever changing thoroughfare of people traffic.

I find these places fascinating – of course there was a time when these places filled me with dread and l would avoid them like the plague or l would have to be wearing fifty shades of complicated mask to cope – but these days l am finding my ability to cope with busier people places easier and realised that if l simply started to enjoy the experience and treat it like a learning curve into ‘peopling’Β  and observation, then my own Asperger’s was not so much of an issue.

One of the things l thoroughly enjoy is listening in or tuning in to conversations from other tables .. eavesdropping l think it’s called … l have a new series planned in for the start of next year called ‘The Things People Say!!” which will be a new story writing prompt and this is based upon literally, ‘snippets’ of conversation we hear everyday if we listen.

Beside us in the diner were two ladies of perhaps the mid 70’s range and they were talking about all sorts of things. Christmas, children and Christmas, how busy the town was, the terrible weather for the time of year, the usual the elderly discuss when sharing a coffee time together l have noticed here and yet, strangely enough –Β  profoundly so the eldest of the two suddenly said

“Have you ever seen the film ‘Saving Private Ryan? The one with that lovely man, Tom Hanks!”

“Yes l have, why?” Replied the other.

“The last moments of the movie where Tom says to the younger man, “Earn This” – do you ever ask yourself this?”

“Ask myself what dear?”

“Well have you earned your life, have you lived a meaningful life?”

There was a silence as the other lady looked at the question asker … “I think so, l hope so, but is it important to live a meaningful life or is it not just enough to live a life and get through to the end in one piece?”

“I don’t know, that’s why l asked you?”

It was an interesting snippet of conversation between two ladies of as said mid to later 70’s age bracket, but quite profound. I was quite enthused by this and was about to say something when a quick kick from Suze reminded me that it was NOT my conversation.

Below is the clip of the film in question ..

So, my question .. Do we owe it to ourselves to live a meaningful life?

What do you think? Do we owe it to ourselves to make our lives mean more than simply getting from A – B and back again? Is it not just enough to start life with birth and get to the end as in death, in one piece as in exist or is it our responsibility to ensure we live as full a life as we can?

I guess the other question remaining might well be, how does one define a meaningful life? Is there a distinct difference between living a happy life to a life filled with meaning? What’s the meaning of life? Is there a purpose – or is it simply we are born and we die, what we do with our life is down to us.


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34 thoughts on “A Meaningful Life or Not?

  1. I don’t think we owe it to ourselves or to anyone else. Life may be richer if there is some sense of greater meaning, but it’s up to each of us to live our lives how we choose.

    1. Hey Ashley – totally valid points – it is indeed down to us to live our lives as we choose – that’s the very essence of freedom of choice πŸ™‚

      Hope you are having a lovely Sunday πŸ™‚

        1. Oh? Is it just the pole? We don’t have tress here, well we do and we don’t. I am like you, not that big on Christmas, to me it’s another day, Suze on the other hand, because she is a mother, grandmother and aunt is very big on Christmas.

          The compromise here is that we have two wooden trees that are both no higher than 18″ – but Suze has done a marvelous job with the white lights this year, l was impressed.

          She isn’t here Christmas day l have sent her down to her family in Devon for five days or so, and she is like your typical motherhen ‘Well what are you going to do on the 25th?’

          “Well’ l’ll get up, make a coffee, attend to the blog and hit the composting ha ha ha and then later on in the evening l will have the pizza :)”

          Suze doesn’t quite know what to make of it after all our years together but she as said is open to tree compromisation πŸ™‚

  2. Aha! The real question is: What is considered a meaningful life. And who defines what that is? i was reminded of that this morning when a ‘memory’ showed up on my FB page – a quote that reminded me of something I wrote years ago and which also echoed a recent blog post I read about making an effort to be kind…Ah – the circle of thinking and remembering and – it all boils down to ???? The Golden Rule? The ordinary is extraordinary?

  3. A great post and I would have gotten the kick too. People especially ones losing their hearing due to age are interesting. I think one reason people of my age and older 73, contemplate life’s because we have the time to do so.

    1. Hey Cheryl, l am constantly told off, if Suze knew what l got up to when she wasn’t with me, well she might have a fit ha ha.

      What you say is true, l had a wonderful conversation with an elderly lady a couple of years ago whilst sitting on a bench in town and she too was explaining to me that once we get to certain landmarks with age – we are are able to view things very differently – she was saying that she was 85 [she looked younger] and that she was able to review her life differently because life was now slower and afforded her that luxury.

        1. Yes l can honestly appreciate that – l am mid fifties so a puppy in many respects, but l am feeling it – l started to feel it at 50 – the change of the body. Annoyingly our minds are still young … just the body isn’t made from the same fabric πŸ™‚

  4. What a great snippet to overhear. Considering all of the things you might hear in a public place, I can understand why overhearing this one got you excited (and preemptively kicked, though who’s to say those ladies would have minded another opinion?). I would love to have a conversation with one or more elders about this very thing.

    I believe it’s ours to choose what we do with our life, but to the extent we have any privilege, gifts, freedom, inspiration, time, or other resources available to us (and each of us has varying amounts of these and other things), I believe it is our implicit responsibility to strive to do something meaningful with them – if not for ourselves, then for others in the world who have less, or need more.

    Living just to reach the finish line might very well be all that some people can muster – the surviving is enough of an effort. For those who have some room to maneuver though, I’d say it’s part of our homework while we’re here to figure out the best ways to be here for the whole. We’re learning the entire time, and can’t be too hard on ourselves for being imperfect about it in any case…

    1. Hey Good afternoon to you Wimselloop, l hope you are having a great Sunday πŸ™‚

      I totally agree, l would have loved to have been allowed to be part of the conversation – Suze l think justs a little embarassed at such things and yet many if not much of the time we have so much to learn from our elders – hell they have been on the planet longer than me and this was just such a wonderful conversation piece to overhear. I hear a lot of conversations, but this was so distinct – that l would have enjoyed the conversation.

      Our life is of course ours to do with as we please, but l also agree that l think if we are able to do as much with it for not just us but for others too, then for me personally, that is a life and time well spent πŸ™‚

      Thanks for commenting here today πŸ™‚

  5. I think Albert Einstein said it best, β€œThere are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle; you can live as if everything is a miracle.” I suppose living a full life depends on which of these you relate to most.

  6. I like the Alan Watts video. From where I am right now, on the down side of the hill, I think being fully present in each moment, really opening myself to possibilities and enjoying all the small moments is what is important.

    While I was reading this post, a lost bee found its way into my bedroom (Ben trashed all our screens years ago). I helped the bee find its its way back outside. That was an important thing, as you well know. Interesting that it happened while I was contemplating life and its meaning.πŸ€”

  7. Yes, I guess we owe it to us to have a meaningful life, that also means that we are free to choose how we want to live our life!
    What I think is meaningful for my life, will be certainly different for what means meaningful for someone else’s life…

  8. So glad I stumbled over your blog. Firstly I need a Su;ze to kick me under the table to remind me not to but in on other peoples conversations. I to enjoy eavesdropping.

    It began because I have really good hearing and got me into trouble often as I was growing up I would jump in conversations.

    My partner when he was alive used to kick me under the table to indicate I was talking too much.
    The meaning of Life. For me not to stress over the meaning of life! As far as I can see as others have commented it will be different for everyone.

    1. Hey good morning Tazzie, many thanks for commenting πŸ™‚

      Eavesdropping is such a gift, and the snippets l have heard over the years have been deliciously funny, thought provoking and quite often profound, l dread the day when l hear of something morally terrible and then l will be in a quandry!

      Yes, the secret is to try and not stress about it, l can write that easily enough and yet we both know that sometimes life isn’t fair to us and we have to spend the odd occasion thinking ‘What if?’ πŸ™‚

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