How do you know you're living a life that matters?

  • Sparkycat

    Posts: 1064

    Feb 05, 2010 5:31 AM GMT
    I'm beginning to feel I'm living a rather empty existence and not a life that matters. I need to make changes but am not sure what to do. How do you define living a life that matters? What is it about your life that allow you to feel it matters and has value? Specifics rather than broad generalizations will be appreciated.
  • WILDCARD73

    Posts: 545

    Feb 05, 2010 5:56 AM GMT
    is that a midlife crisis here?
  • PipHop

    Posts: 439

    Feb 05, 2010 6:05 AM GMT
    If you can wake up with something to look forward to that is substantially fullfilling, that's a good thing. It doesn't have to be some altruistic, worldly thing that benefits humanity lol. For myself, I love playing basketball, sneakers and finding new music. This may not mean jack squat for anyone else, but each one is a passion of mine that makes me profoundly happy. On the flip side; there is a bit of satisfaction contributing to a 'greater cause', but I've found that's more of a 'makes me feel better than I am' moment, than a true calling.

    What is it that you love to do?
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    Feb 05, 2010 6:23 AM GMT
    For most people they never question what it is that makes life "worth it". By asking that question many people start to doubt themselves .
    Many people have to make life worthwhile to live for, for others it just falls into place and they never question anything. If you have to question yourself, ask yourself, whats important to you.

    Some people live for family, friends, spiritual, material and other reasons. Some people push on just out of the curiosity of "what if?" and plain old hope.

    As to your question, I define my life's meaning for being by family and friends as well as the "what ifs" and the possibilities of what can be.

    I have lost friends in the past for various reasons or another so I live my life in tribute to them and try to be an example of the good qualities they showed while they were still alive. In essence I think of my life as a living memorial to pass on to those around me. As long as something is remembered or known it can never really die.

    I cant tell you what changes to make in your life sparky, but I can tell you you have to start by asking yourself what's important to you or was, and cultivating and nurturing that.
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    Feb 05, 2010 6:29 AM GMT
    Sparky,
    I used to have those middle of the night awakenings. Existential angst, I guess. What is it all about, why are we here, what does it all matter, anyway? moments. Most people do, I think, at some point in their lives.
    I will venture to say that if you can make a difference in someone or something's life, then you are living a life that matters. It doesn't necessarily take much. Remember Jimmy Stewart's character from that movie they play to death every Christmas? He didn't think he was living a life that mattered, either. How wrong he was.
    I'm not going to give you specifics. There are a million ways in which you can enrich another living creature's life, and in doing so, make your life more meaningful. We all get so wrapped up in ourselves. Our needs, our wants, our desires. We want someone to come along and "save" us. Sometimes, save us from ourselves.
    Give yourself a lucky break.
    Me personally? If I couldn't think of anything else, I would head to the nearest animal shelter to offer my time. Knowing you made a difference is what matters.
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    Feb 05, 2010 6:30 AM GMT
    I think when it comes to determining if you are living a meaningful life its about determining your personal happiness and how you effect others... I try a live in a way that each day gets me closer to something bigger...

    but I also have a goal to at least bring a smile to one person every single day... that way I havent only focused on my own goals and dreams, but I have taken the time to brighten some one else's day icon_biggrin.gif

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    Feb 05, 2010 6:34 AM GMT
    Gilly saidI think when it comes to determining if you are living a meaningful life its about determining your personal happiness and how you effect others... I try a live in a way that each day gets me closer to something bigger...

    but I also have a goal to at least bring a smile to one person every single day... that way I havent only focused on my own goals and dreams, but I have taken the time to brighten some one else's day icon_biggrin.gif



    That's why you're such a nice guy Gilly! icon_biggrin.gif
  • jrs1

    Posts: 4388

    Feb 05, 2010 6:35 AM GMT
    Gilly saidI think when it comes to determining if you are living a meaningful life its about determining your personal happiness and how you effect others... I try a live in a way that each day gets me closer to something bigger...

    but I also have a goal to at least bring a smile to one person every single day... that way I havent only focused on my own goals and dreams, but I have taken the time to brighten some one else's day icon_biggrin.gif



    Giller, you are simply wonderful. gurl, you are sweeter than ... * drum roll *



    you so shweet!
  • jrs1

    Posts: 4388

    Feb 05, 2010 6:36 AM GMT
    keepinghealthy said
    Gilly saidI think when it comes to determining if you are living a meaningful life its about determining your personal happiness and how you effect others... I try a live in a way that each day gets me closer to something bigger...

    but I also have a goal to at least bring a smile to one person every single day... that way I havent only focused on my own goals and dreams, but I have taken the time to brighten some one else's day icon_biggrin.gif



    That's why you're such a nice guy Gilly! icon_biggrin.gif


    keepingsexy ... I saw his post first, betch. go rid the world of poverty or something.
  • EricLA

    Posts: 3461

    Feb 05, 2010 6:38 AM GMT
    They say the best way to give your life meaning is to get out of your own head. Volunteer a few hours a week, or even a month, at a hospital or somewhere else your time is needed. Help those who have less. It'll help put your life into perspective.
  • Crucializer

    Posts: 389

    Feb 05, 2010 6:40 AM GMT
    I have asked myself this question so many times throughout my life. Dealing with weight issues and of course, being gay in a hetero world ... I can honestly say that my kids most days are the only reason I am alive today. Making sure they have a Dad that they know loves them and supports them no matter what ... thats what drives me to get out of bed in the morning (and I HATE mornings!!) icon_smile.gif

    That ... and the slight hope that I might find love someday ... icon_wink.gif
  • outkast1728

    Posts: 147

    Feb 05, 2010 6:41 AM GMT
    To quote Shakespeare "Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player, that struts and frets his hour upon the stage, and then is heard no more; it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."

    Basically this means that life is too short to waste on daily trivialities. That people are so worried about preserving their "being" for all eternity that they end up missing the chance to actually live their life while they can, and because of it, end up in the very situation they were trying so hard to avoid.

    Life%27s%20but%20a%20walking%20shadow_sm

    So in my opinion, if you REALLY want to make a difference, actually take the time and effort required to do so. For example, try setting up some kind of fundraiser or charity to help the Haitians who are suffering badly and need all the help they can get.
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    Feb 05, 2010 6:49 AM GMT
    If I can love and appreciate the things I do and have every day, love and appreciate the people I know, really feel happy at that happiness of others, and when I get up every morning remembering all of the above then I know I am living well.
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    Feb 05, 2010 7:35 AM GMT
    jrs1 and keepinghealthy... I love you both! lol
  • Webster666

    Posts: 9217

    Feb 05, 2010 7:39 AM GMT
    It's different for everybody, depending on their needs and wants.

    It all comes down to, are you happy with what you have and where you are in life (work, home, money, health, friendships, sex, relationships) ?

    If you're happy, it doesn't matter.

    If you're not happy, do something about it; make some changes.

  • DrewT

    Posts: 1327

    Feb 05, 2010 7:58 AM GMT
    Sparkycat saidI'm beginning to feel I'm living a rather empty existence and not a life that matters. I need to make changes but am not sure what to do. How do you define living a life that matters? What is it about your life that allow you to feel it matters and has value? Specifics rather than broad generalizations will be appreciated.


    I doubt I'm going to give you a good answer, but I'll try anyways. I find myself asking this question to myself all the time. And it is not an easy answer.

    Give yourself a goal you would like to achieve. I wanted to go to school for a degree in English. It took my two years of hard work, and I recently graduated with my BA. Those were seriously some of the best years I've had. I recently moved back home, and realized why I moved away in the first place.

    My next goal is to get published, anything, something at all, and this June I'll have a piece of non-fiction published in a gay anthology book. In the meantime, I have no job, and I do nothing all day.

    I've been using this time to rest, though I "should be looking for a job." I need the rest time. My next goal is to get into graduate school for creative writing, and by golly, I'm working on it.

    I have my bad days where I feel like I'm worthless, but that passes. Find something you love to do, something you always wished you'd done and do it. Meet new people, get out of the daily routine, and revitalize yourself. Change can have miraculous benefits on you.

    Hope you get to find something to make you're life feel meaningful.

    PS Life is how you see it. Look at everything with new eyes, and you'll see that everything is different.
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    Feb 05, 2010 8:05 AM GMT
    jrs1 said
    Gilly saidI think when it comes to determining if you are living a meaningful life its about determining your personal happiness and how you effect others... I try a live in a way that each day gets me closer to something bigger...

    but I also have a goal to at least bring a smile to one person every single day... that way I havent only focused on my own goals and dreams, but I have taken the time to brighten some one else's day icon_biggrin.gif



    Giller, you are simply wonderful. gurl, you are sweeter than ... * drum roll *



    you so shweet!



    Boo! I live for this song! Hay!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 05, 2010 8:57 AM GMT
    Long Versions:

    It's kind of relative isnt it? If you're looking for an objective answer, you can't really live a life that 'matters'. The universe would hardly notice if even the most influential human never existed. If you care instead about your lasting effects on the remainder of humanity, you might first try to understand why it is that you care. If the reason is that you want to improve the lives of others, then there are tons of opportunities to do that all over the place. If instead you want to improve your own life in some way, to sort of live up to your own expectations of yourself so to speak, then you might try to figure out what your expectations of yourself are and do what needs to be done.

    Personally I think it is futile to try to have a 'meaningful' life, although the notion is irresistably alluring to pretty much everyone, since everyone wants to feel special and important. Instead, what I try to do is to determine where I currently am and where I want to be, and then try to get there in some way. The effort of trying alone is often enough, I either make it there or get bored before I do and decide I want something else.

    If I ever do start being seduced by grandiose notions of lasting impact in some futile attempt to make the memory of my existence somehow permanent, I remind myself that I'm just a tiny piece of DNA and so the odds are stacked against me when the universe is full of things that have power on the order of the sun and galaxies etc. That's usually enough to snap me back to reality.


    Short Version:

    Just do (or try to do) what you like and what makes you feel good, but make sure you always know what it is that you like (these things change all the time)
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    Feb 05, 2010 1:52 PM GMT
    Sparkycat said How do you define living a life that matters?

    You can't so don't waste energy trying.
    Forget about navel-gazing and just get on with your life. Perform each task as well as you can. Find something to enjoy in each interaction you have with others. These little things matter and over time will add up to a life that matters.
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    Feb 05, 2010 3:01 PM GMT
    Who cares.

    You could get hit by a runaway Toyota tomorrow and less than 1% of the population is going to even know or care. Deep thinking = the road to self loathing icon_twisted.gif
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    Feb 05, 2010 3:18 PM GMT
    Both of us volunteer in our neighbourhood. I also volunteer in palliative care for those that wish to remain at home instead of going into hospice. For awhile we volunteered at the local Humane Society.

    The smile on another's face from a difference you've made can make you lift up and float along...

    You can also do it online. We try be supportive on here and other sites whenever we can.

    -Doug

    lol, ATC84, we care.
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    Feb 05, 2010 3:34 PM GMT
    I think others have said it here, you need to have GOALS in life.

    And by goals, that doesn't mean planning a party, or road trip, or dinner out with friends. Too many people fill their lives with "what to dos" and end up empty after because they don't have meaningful goals.

    Get creative. Write down your thoughts. Make a photobook. Improve your reading skills. Learn a new language, etc.
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    Feb 05, 2010 4:53 PM GMT
    I'm going to attribute the nihilism and cynicism in some of these responses to youth. The alternative is too depressing to contemplate.