The meaning of life.
I used to think the meaning of my life lay entirely in my accomplishments and achievements. What was the legacy I’d leave behind—what would people remember me for? What great things would I do for mankind? But I also believed that life was bigger than me, extending out farther and wider than the scope of the universe. Human existence, human touch, human relation, all colliding in different forces, impacting and shaping the lives of strangers and subsequently, the world around us.
But already in the brevity of my nineteen years, the innocent joy found in simplicity still escapes me. I don’t trust your smile as much as I don’t trust mine. Who’s right is it to be an optimist when your reality is mundane? Does altruism actually exist, or is the whole point of “doing unto others” so that you in return will receive?
Who can know what one’s purpose is? The Buddhists say that you can, when you reach Nirvana. The Nihilists say there is none. The Lutherans say to glorify God and enjoy him forever. But on a day-to-day basis, what can one even do to “discover your life purpose”? The simplest answer: Love. Love what you’re doing. Love where you’ve come from. Love the culture in which you were raised. Love the field that you’re working in. Love your work. Love your friends. Love your brother, your sister, your mother, your father. Love your God.
And yet, my questioning remains unceasing. The most cliché question for centuries, millennia, and for as long as human existence: What is love?
The greatest joy. The most impossible frustration. The unknowable force. The avoidance of bringing sorrow to another. The increase of self-sacrifice. The decrease of personal gain. The solace of a simple “Good morning.” The rest of a simple “Good night.” The ebb and flow of conversation. The stifled silence of conflict. The search for words of apology. The acceptance of forgiveness. The steady anchor at the end of an impossible day. Love is life.