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Hawaii_Jake's avatar

To be or not to be? How does your mortality make you feel?

Asked by Hawaii_Jake (34210points) July 24th, 2013

I’m 50.

I’m over the hill.

I’ve begun a new career in the mental health field working with clients who have serious and persistent mental illness. I have a client who is chronically suicidal, yet he comes back weekly to meet with me where he rails against the futility of life and its meaninglessness.

Something makes him hold on.

Meanwhile, I’m intimately active in my local community theater, acting, directing, and managing. I am on the threshold of auditions for a major play and in the throes of editing Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra for production next summer.

Something drives me to do theater.

It appears my new work and theater give me meaning.

Where does one derive meaning for life?

Where do you get meaning for your life?

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16 Answers

Pandora's avatar

Purpose. I find most people feel lost till they find their purpose in life. It can be a job that seems special or volunteer work or simply raising a family, or being the backbone of your family. You need purpose.

seekingwolf's avatar

I don’t really have a purpose. I thought I did but I don’t anymore.

It wears on me.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I don’t know the answer to this. It might be nice not to feel anything.

ZEPHYRA's avatar

All I know is that I’m glad we don’t go on for long and I certainly don’t want to live to a ripe old age. No matter what, I see no purpose in all this whatsoever and even if there is a reason to live, it all boils down to NOTHING in the end! My vote: “not to be.”

janbb's avatar

Was just out in SF with my son at a time when it was good for him to have a Mom around. I would say the highs of parenting and friendship have given me the most sense of fulfillment in my life. “Only connect.” There have been work and creative satisfactions too but they have been fewer.

I don’t mind the idea of being dead but I want to get some more joyful times in first.

bookish1's avatar

On one level, I’m alive to see how far I can get. I’ve hijacked my genes. I was predisposed to type 1 diabetes, and natural selection was supposed to weed me out before the age of 5. But thanks to Western medicine (and my access to it), I can live like a (mostly) normal person, and I can even transition. (Shit yeah.)

On another level, meaning in my life comes from giving back to the world without which I would be nothing. Teaching, cooking with/for others, being kind to friends, lovers, and strangers, volunteering or taking political action. These are the things that make me feel fulfilled and useful.

Coloma's avatar

“Purpose” is ever changing not constant. We have to invent new purpose as we go.
It may be as important as being a parent or it may just be growing a garden and feeding the birds. People that get hung up on meaning and purpose suffer when things shift in their lives. Me, I’m very flexible and adaptable, and really, our ultimate “purpose” is to just be alive.

Human beings rather than human doings.

serenade's avatar

IMHO, the “something” is identifiable if you stop to ponder it. Something has kept me around. I decided it was not the me that is relatively horrible at managing my life. When you get to a point where you can see that the “something” is at least an identifiable other, then you can relax your grip a little and trust that it’s doing some or most of the heavy lifting.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

It makes me feel paranoid that something will happen to me and I’ll leave my daughters motherless. My sole purpose, at the moment, is to be a good mother and wife. That’s pretty much all that drives me right now.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Survival is my motivation (I refuse to give up/ lose), and Hope that the future will be better.

Faith, family, and pets are good motivators, too.

Headhurts's avatar

I envy your client who keeps coming back.

zenvelo's avatar

For purpose I strive to be of service to others. It is surprising how much that can bring meaning to one’s life. It doesn’t have to be much: be of cheer when out in public; volunteer somewhere, be friendly to dogs, smile at kids; whatever floats your boat that gets you out of your self and into being of help to someone else.

Pachy's avatar

Ah… to be 50 again! Wish I had appreciated the unique and unretrievable glory of each decade more than I did.

As for my mortality, I find myself thinking about it more and more now that I’m retired.

ml3269's avatar

I think twice: On one side mortality gives you a limit, a time to use… to live. On the other it is like a cage… I feel very sorry not to see the world in 100 years… or in 500 years. I would like ro live so much longer. But I do not overestimate my own existence… it is just nature… evolution… and I am a part of it… of the planet. Nothing more, nothing less.

Meaning of or in my life? Have fun. Be good to others. Live. Change a bit. That’s it and that is much.

ETpro's avatar

There is so much I want to learn and see and hear and do. I’ll be for as long as I’m able to do those things. @zenvelo has a great answer. Giving of yourself is purpose enough to go on.

anartist's avatar

Ready to plan my goodbye party by buying a plot in a groovy cemetery where drinks will be served in the public vault.

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