Life: What’s That All About Then? – This is My Truth, Tell Me Yours

After nearly 8 months of blogging it’s about time I got serious and discussed the meaning of life.  No more fannying around talking about trifling matters like divorce, death and depression, it’s time to ask the big question:

‘Life, what the hell’s all that about then?’

In the wake of devastation, terror and tragedy, the question mark looms larger as we try to make sense of the seemingly insensible.

For as long as man has existed – separated as he is (and she, I don’t want to alienate my women visitors!) from other creatures by the unique ability to comprehend and consider the meaning of his own mortality – he has considered whether there is meaning and purpose to his existence.

It hardly needs to be said that greater minds than mine have pondered the question and in many different ways: art, religion, philosophy, science – all are methods by which humans have pondered the great unknown in the quest for answers.

I don’t wish to disappoint anybody but I don’t have the answer (please accept my profuse apologies if you expected more from me).  In fact, I would suggest that there are around seven and a half billion answers to the question and I’m afraid space and time constraints limit my ability to consider each of these.

The writer Anais Nin, is credited with the observation that:

We-dont-see-things-as__quotes-by-Anais-Nin-72

As we are shaped by our environment, our upbringing, our culture, our trials and our triumphs, so we see the world as a reflection of our experiences; and it seems we have a drive, an instinct to find meaning.  As life steers us through the madness to the mundane we search for deeper meaning, for a sense of greater purpose to accompany us through the peaks and the pitfalls along our paths.

Where is meaning to be found?

In stories.

We are storytellers, each and every one of us, and we create our own meaning via the stories we tell – to others, to ourselves – those narratives that trace the stories of our lives, adding colour to the past and shape to our future; stories in which we assume the starring role and assign the roles that others play, ascribing to them motives, and, with each scene, creating meanings.

The plotlines of each of our stories will contain many similarities and familiar archetypes will populate the tales we tell: the hero and the coward; the victor and the victim; the honest man and the cheat; the wise man and the fool, the ruler and the ruled.

What role do we assume for ourselves?  Who do we play in the story of our own lives?

Most importantly, who holds the pen?

Do we write our own story with a steady hand, a sure stroke, a certain script?  Or do we allow others to dictate to us, defining our place in our own story, determining our role, directing our character?StoryoflifeIt is during those times when our grip on the pen is loosest that the question of meaning, our desire to flick through to the final page and check for a happy ending, is greatest.  But the pages are empty.

When the pen is wrenched from our grasp and events are written by an invisible hand, do we wait for the plot to reveal itself and hope for a happy ending, or do we find a way to take our pen back, to turn to the next blank page and concentrate our efforts on writing the best chapter that we can?

A few weeks ago I wrote:

“Would I choose to be where I am today?  Honestly?  No.” (https://lovelaughtertruthblog.com/2016/06/27/if-i-could-turn-back-time/)

Reading it back now I can’t agree.  I was focusing on the wrong part of my story, assigning meaning based on one chapter and not the story as a whole.

I am writing this chapter alone, without someone special with which to share my story, but what about the chapters that I wrote before that?  What about the chapters in which I carved out a career for myself in pursuit of my passion?  What about the supporting characters that populate my story and add sparkle to every page?  What about the chapter in which I discovered writing and the ability to tell my stories, to seek meaning and to recognise that this chapter is but a short one in the storybook of my life?  What about the chapters in which I picked myself off the floor and discovered strength that I could scarcely believe that I had?

What about the opportunity that this chapter offers me to hone my abilities to read, to learn, and to use these to ensure that my best chapters are still to be written?

Maybe there is a greater meaning to this thing we call life, an ultimate purpose that binds each of us together in a universal dance amongst the stars.  Maybe there is a supreme being to whom we shall report our findings on arrival at the garden of eternity.  Or maybe it’s just about getting through it all as best we can.

None of us knows the ultimate answer; all of us are on our way to finding out.

Just make sure you don’t lose your pen along the way.Universe

Soundtrack
Still A Long Way To Go – James Dean Bradfield

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11 thoughts on “Life: What’s That All About Then? – This is My Truth, Tell Me Yours

  1. I think grabbing that pen is important, as is occasionally relinquishing it. It’s a balance. We grasp for control, we learn we don’t have as much control as we’d hoped. But writing about the times we’ve lost control helps us learn from it, accept it, and frame it in a way that allows us to move forward to try to make that next chapter better. I’ve been blogging and painting about my family’s journey through my dad’s dementia for the last couple years, and the writing helped make it bearable. Now that he’s gone, I’m writing about the grief as it arises to, again, process it and figure out how to move forward in a positive way. And what’s been the most rewarding, is that the effort to make sense of what’s happened and make MYSELF feel better, other people have said they’ve found solace in what I’ve written. By writing and sharing your life, you’re allowing people who don’t always have the words to say, “Yes, exactly. I am not alone.” And maybe, in the exchange, you’re offering them a pen to help them write their own way forward.

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    1. Very well said and I agree with everything you say about writing, I feel very blessed to have been able to make it a part of my life, it’s teaching me a great deal and there is immense satisfaction in discovering that your words can help others. Thanks for reading and commenting 🙂

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    1. I’m probably not the best person to ask haha! Like so much in life I guess it’s a balance, knowing when to change the narrative and knowing when to just let things be.

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  2. This is my truth…Life can be the most wonderful gift or the worst experience ever, it depends how you choose to look at it. We have the freedom to choose who we want to be and how we want to be in every single moment. I know that every “negative” experience that I have been through has taught me something wonderful if I have allowed it to, that way showing me that there are no problems. The more I grow, the more I let go of my victim and take responsibility for my life, the more wonderful my life gets. The amount of challenges that I have overcome in my life have only happened for me to give hope, encouragement and direction to others who are not getting past their own problems and feeling stuck in their lives. The more I learn, the more I grow, the more I want to give back to others.

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    1. That’s a wonderful attitude to have and is a point I’m working hard at getting to. I’m finding I’m getting better at living day-to-day with a greater sense that it is part of a bigger picture, which helps to navigate the twists and turns.

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      1. A really wonderful way to getting focus to shift things is to have a morning routine. For example I wake up and meditate and do my gratitude statements, then I listen to a motivational talk, (among other things). It sets the tone for the best day ever. It doesn’t have to take long, even if you start with committing to five minutes a day you will start feeling a difference.

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  3. I don’t think there’s a concrete answer to that. Life is made up of experiences that would hopefully shape us to be a better person and less wilful (or in my case, dumb!) but sometimes it’s hard to get over disappointment or hurt especially when triggers are in the way. The chapters would keep on changing and we’d have to be nimble, I suppose. Either that, fake it till you make it! 🙂

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  4. I guess finding a meaning in those disappointments / hurts that helps you to move forward is the key, at least for me. Not easy! I’d like to think I’ll never stop learning and improving and hopefully finding ways to better deal with the triggers!

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