General Question

kevbo's avatar

What makes your life meaningful or gives it meaning?

Asked by kevbo (25644points) January 13th, 2010 from iPhone

This may be a basic question for you, but if you can, take a minute to really articulate the what and why.

I’m interested to hear all responses. Thanks.

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

50 Answers

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

Right now, very little. I’m fighting major depression following the death of my wife. If I can get past this, maybe finishing my doctorate in history. I can’t see any further than that at present.

Saturated_Brain's avatar

I’m young, I have so much to learn. I look at the world around me and see that there’s so much I don’t yet understand. I have a loving family. I have great friends. I have someone who loves me, who I love in return and learn from. I have goals, and I have various quests in life.

That’s what gives my life meaning. .

@stranger_in_a_strange_land I’m so sorry to hear that

Austinlad's avatar

I agree with Woody Allen’s character, Isaac Davis, in “Manhattan” ...

“Why is life worth living? It’s a very good question. Um… Well, There are certain things I guess that make it worthwhile. uh… Like what… okay… um… For me, uh… ooh… I would say… what, Groucho Marx, to name one thing… uh… um… and Wilie Mays… and um… the 2nd movement of the Jupiter Symphony… and um… Louis Armstrong, recording of Potato Head Blues… um… Swedish movies, naturally… Sentimental Education by Flaubert… uh… Marlon Brando, Frank Sinatra… um… those incredible Apples and Pears by Cezanne… uh… the crabs at Sam Wo’s… Tracy’s face.”

Blackberry's avatar

To be honest I drift in and out of feeling like there is no reason, to the basic reasons that we all feel. Even though sometimes I feel it doesn’t matter, I want to be semi successful at least, I just want my own house and car and decent job, preferably working with the NOAA or the NWS. Some terms used to describe people like me are empiricist, materialist etc. I just want to be successful so I can essentially have more ‘stuff’. This is because I don’t believe in an afterlife so I want to enjoy this physical world while I’m in it.

partyparty's avatar

Waking up each morning and feeling thankful and happy for what I have.

Cruiser's avatar

Raising my kids and helping them make sense of their world. Not easy to do some days. Also volunteering in their scouting programs is an awesome experience as people like me is what makes these programs stay alive and be meaningful for the boys. Volunteering for various community based ecology projects and I run one of my own every year. All these things bring a profound sense of meaning and purpose to my life.

ucme's avatar

My 2 children. I would normally end it there, but to articulate like you asked. Life is so bloody precious & worth living. Meaning enough for this happy camper!!

wonderingwhy's avatar

Happiness, the continual search for it, better learning to experience it from moment to moment (because the search is endless so I’d might as well enjoy the journey), helping others to find it in whatever small way I am capable of, and always remembering to stop and enjoy and learn from each moment and experience, whether good or bad, because they are what make us who we are… and how can you ever be happy if you don’t know yourself.

scotsbloke's avatar

Kids, Grandkids, Family, Chocolate.
In no particular order there.


stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

@Saturated_Brain @Blackberry thanks @Austinlad Love that Woody Allen line, I almost cracked a smile. GAs x 3

Owl's avatar

Mentoring young people. I love sharing my experience.

Cupcake's avatar

My family.
Future plans.
My faith.

SABOTEUR's avatar

I’ve long ago resigned myself to the fact that life has no meaning other than the meaning I assign to it.

I’m perfectly content to accept life as it is…

except when I don’t.

stump's avatar

Okay, my answer above sounds flippant, and Saboteur has said it much better than I did.

SABOTEUR's avatar

@stump For what it’s worth, your answer was my answer before I considered how the answer might (or might not) be interpreted. Hang around long enough and you get a sense of what easily flies and what may need to be elaborated on (if you don’t know already.).

Welcome to Fluther!

nikipedia's avatar

I love the projects I’m working on. Nothing is more fulfilling to me than seeing a project come to the end after months and months of planning and executing and seeing that it worked!

I hope the body of research I’m producing ultimately contributes something meaningful to women’s health. I hope it generates new discussions, new ideas, and new projects. I like being part of this tree of knowledge.

On a more basic level, connecting with people also gives my life meaning. That goes for new people—that sense of excitement you get when you meet someone new and great, someone who Gets You—and also old friends. I love it when I think of something funny to tell my best friend and I know she’s going to laugh.

How ‘bout you, Kev?

BoBo1946's avatar

My faith in Jesus Christ, family, and my friends!

BoBo1946's avatar

@Austinlad loll.very good!

Janka's avatar

For me, the realization that life as such has no special meaning nor needs to has been a great liberator. I do not need to seek any “real meaning”—being here, and trying to be good, kind, and strong, is enough. Actually more than enough.

Living is fun. My husband is an awesome person to share it with. My house is lovely. Human kindness is more common than current propaganda would have us believe and never ceases to make me go “awwww”. I like the feeling I get from trying to just enjoy what is here-and-now. And there’s so much to do.

Sophief's avatar

My boyfriend is the only thing keeping me going. Without him life means nothing. He looks after me and I treasure him. I was nothing before him. I also am fighting and losing deep depression, I could quite happily fade away from this world.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

@Dibley We’re not losing as long as we’re still breathing. Keep fighting.

faye's avatar

my kids and I am curious yellow.

nebule's avatar

seeing meaning in everything

bumface's avatar


i chose education and a good job, i party hard and travel loads but also spend a few hours a week in volunteer work because whats the point of hoarding all the great stuff when other people are in need?

and just be good to others. nothing makes me happier than making a mate or family member smile.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

This is about as close to a psychotherapy group as I can get, with my Aspergers Syndrome. Mega ((hugs)) to all of you!!!

tinyfaery's avatar

Life has no meaning.

HGl3ee's avatar

The the hum of my mind, the breath in my lungs, the skip in my step and the love in my heart <3

Austinlad's avatar

Beg to differ, @tinyfaery. Life means what one chooses to make it mean.

tinyfaery's avatar

Therefore life has no real meaning.

daemonelson's avatar

@stranger_in_a_strange_land A doctorate, eh? That would be quite an accomplishment. Should come back and change your name to Dr. Stranger :P

At the moment, I’m getting by on learning. I feel almost obligated to learn. Killing myself would probably be detrimental to the process. My learning at the moment includes attempting to play the violin, C++, furthering my photoshopping skills, writing (I have dysgraphia, not a simple task), story writing, and making somewhat random things. Chainmail, for example.

In other news, despite the irritating cliché, and the dismissal of such claims due to my age, my S/O does bring significance (pun definitely intended).

Oh, and also <insert rant about predetermined meaning VS self-determined meaning>.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

@daemonelson Making chainmail was one of my lady’s hobbies, too. We were into SCA events.

daemonelson's avatar

@stranger_in_a_strange_land Sorry, unclear on what SCA is. And yeah, I’ve found an oddly large number of people are into making such things. Was quite surprising to hear that a friend of mine from school actually has a forge and makes plate armour. Technological interest is going a bit full-circle.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

@daemonelson Society for Creative Anachronism, a Yank organization. Fake jousting and medieval- type fairs. Jolly good fun. Some would “joust” on motorcycle sidecars.

daemonelson's avatar

@stranger_in_a_strange_land Ahh, fantastic! I really would like to go to one of those. There are similar groups here, but they’re mostly serious combat organisations. And as much as I enjoy the style of the time, I don’t find that much joy in a 7-foot berserker-enactor swinging an axe at me. I must make my way to such a fair someday.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

@daemonelson We’d do the combat too, with blunted weapons. I did the berserker bit a few times (I’m only 6’5’’, but adaquete at screaming Norse oaths and axemanship).

mollypop51797's avatar

Simply, my family and my friends. The one closest to my heart and deepest in my soul are the ones that I would give anything to. Do anything for.

Shuttle128's avatar


Life certainly does have real meaning; however, meanings can be either objective or subjective. Since meaning comes from intelligent minds the only thing that gives life meaning are those who think. Since none of us are the same we don’t have the same thoughts on the meaning of life. Since we don’t all agree on a meaning of life it is subjective. Life has real meaning, but it is subjective. To think that not having some greater extra-human meaning means that any meaning we derive from our experience is not real is absolutely untrue.

I derive meaning from my experience of the world and the things in it that make me happy. I continue to trudge through life because I enjoy these things. When things look bad I remember that there are things that exist out in the world that give me these feelings of happiness. These feelings are real, the things that cause these feelings are real, and my attribution of meaning to pursuing these feelings is absolutely real.

philosopher's avatar

My Son and Husband .

tinyfaery's avatar

I guess we define real quite differently.

daemonelson's avatar

@stranger_in_a_strange_land Well, that’s frightening enough. I’m fantastic at swinging a baseball bat, but medieval weaponry is just a bit out of my grasp.

Shuttle128's avatar

@tinyfaery I would guess you are using the philosophical definition of real to mean objectively existing.

I find there’s something missing from this definition though. Meaning is fundamentally of mental origin, so the only way for meaning to exist is for it to be subjective. Saying that no objective meaning exists is almost trivial. For meaning to exist it must not be objective. However, since I think, my mind must exist. If my thoughts must exist then meaning must exist. It’s not the kind of real that can be expressed objectively (nor proved) but to any person who observes meaning the thoughts are indeed real.

Would you say that morality is not real? It is a product of the mind and considerably subjective.

CaptainHarley's avatar

What gives my life meaning? My wife, my children, my grandchildren, my God, my curiosity, my friends, my studies… the list is long, but primarily what gives my life meaning is living my life. : )

SuperMouse's avatar

@tinyfaery got it right as far as I’m concerned. The only real meaning life has is the meaning one ascribes to it.

Personally I find the meaning in my life in relationships. My relationship with, and belief in God, my relationship with my other half, my relationship with my children, and my relationship with the world around me.

augustlan's avatar

Love, of all kinds. The kinds I give, and the kinds I receive. My love for my husband, my children, my friends and my pets… as well as their love for me. My love of learning and teaching and sharing. Of creating, of reading. Of eating! It all boils down to love. :)

BoBo1946's avatar

A good cup of coffee!

Janka's avatar

@tinyfaery and others; I am not sure if the question of whether meaning of life is “real” or not can be meaningfully (haha, I kill me) defined as whether an “objective” meaning “exists”. Meaning always implies subjectivity. E.g. if God existed, then God’s subjective meaning would be “real” for you, but in the end, how is that any more real than your subjective meaning, given that we do not assume God exists and is somehow a “higher” authority?

I am sure I have written more coherent sentences in my life.

CaptainHarley's avatar


I disagree on several levels, but it would take a great deal of typing to explain, and I just don’t… subjectively… feel like it just now. : )

susanc's avatar

Beauty. Smells. Food. The companionship of good-hearted animals. Ironies. Being so old that I can say what I want without losing opportunities to get laid. I’m not going to get laid anyway. Making art, with and without other people. Quietness. Literature.

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