I know what the meaning of life is. No really, I do. Maybe it’s because I have reached that magical age. I’m not really any special age, but perhaps this is that magical age. Maybe it’s everything I’ve seen and done and been through in my magical age years. Maybe it’s not so much where I’ve been but where I am right now.
Regardless of this, I am very sure I know the meaning of life and I’m very happy to impart this wisdom to all of you. Not because you’re special (though you are), but more because I am NOT special and something this important should not be kept a secret.
The meaning of life can’t be easily described. It is a feeling and it’s not an easy feeling to achieve, trust me. I fear it might be like that saying, “I could explain to you what death is like, but in order for it to have meaning you would have to die and come back to life for me to explain it.” I’m hoping it won’t be that hard.
Let me start at the beginning…
It was a warm sunny afternoon…late afternoon to be exact. You know that type of afternoon where as the sun starts to head a little lower into the afternoon sky, it gives off that warm “sunshiny” glow. I was out in our field with three of our goats who were lazily grazing. As I turned towards the sun, in the glow I could see hundreds of dragonflies dipping and weaving as they gobbled up those pesky little “no-see-ums” as my boyfriend calls them. Those tiny gnats that somehow seem to find their way through the tiniest mesh.
The site took my breath away. It was magical. The glow of the sun, the almost otherworldly look to the huge dragonflies, the stillness of the air and the quietness that surrounded me was just mesmerizing. I thought for a moment I had died and gone to heaven and someone had forgotten to tell me.
One of the dragonflies flew right up to me and hovered just beyond my reach. For just a few breaths it stared as if trying to figure out what type of bug I was and if I would be worth tasting. Then, just like that it was gone, blending in with all the others.
On another bright sunny morning I was home and my better half was leaving for work. It had rained the night before and everything had that “fresh washed” feel and smell. The sun was just breaking through the trees and glow from the morning dew and the bright blue of the sky just screamed to be photographed. I took out my small camera and through my little lens I captured my big orange sunflowers smiling up at the morning. For just a moment, all I wanted was to be one of them. To be able to stand right there with my toes in the moist earth and my face smiling at the sun.
Later that afternoon, I was inside doing some cleaning. I have two bird feeders I hang out front and I could hear this amazing singing. Two goldfinches were having a contest to see who could sing the happiest tune. They really outdid themselves. I couldn’t help but smile and stop what I was doing. For a few moments, it was as if the whole world just stopped to listen.
The other night, after my better half and I got home late from work, hot and tired with little desire to cook, we broke down and ordered take out from a little Greek restaurant down the road. On an impulse I picked up two pieces of baklava they were selling when I picked up our dinners. Later that evening, I took a bite of my piece and let it linger on my tongue allowing all the buttery, nutty, sweetness to envelope my whole mouth. Baklava is pretty much the perfect food (right after pizza). It has the creaminess of butter, the sweetness of honey, the salty-crunchiness of nuts and the tangy gooiness of pastry all rolled into one.
If I think back through my life there are definite moments I know were put there to show me the meaning of life. I was just too busy (or inexperienced) to understand what they were. The day my son was born, comes to mind. The single moment when after all the labor and pain and craziness of delivery, we were alone in the hospital room and I looked down at the pink, wrinkly little thing and thought, “I made this perfect little human being. Me…little ole’ nobody me made this amazing wonderful tiny person.”
The point to all this is we are here for a reason. We are the most intelligent species that we are aware of. We were given senses not so we could ignore things. This whole world is full of these amazing sensations and we are here to sense it all.
I absolutely refuse to believe that man’s purpose on this planet is to sit in a climate controlled cubicle crunching numbers and worrying about the bottom line or quarterly spend or stock market crashes. Man has created a world in which we are unable to experience what life is really about. In other words, we really are our own worst enemies.
When you really stop to think about it, the fact that we are even here at all is truly amazing. The fact that we are such amazing creatures with the ability to think and understand and feel all of our surroundings is incredible. Why we aren’t more amazed and bewildered and overjoyed at life in general every day is proof that we have stopped trying to understand why we are even here.
The meaning of life IS those simple moments that make you pause and smile and help you remember why we are all here in the first place. We are not here to work a nine-to-five job or to go grocery shopping or clean bathrooms or fold laundry or put up with people who break their promises or break your heart. That’s all the junk that we allow into our life.
The real meaning of life is the beauty that exists that we have absolutely no control over. It’s those simple moments that we catch almost by accident as we go about our crazy lives. It’s those little things that just take your breath away.
I have found that as I have begun to simplify my life, I am encountering these moments more and more and each time is just as amazing as the last.
Somehow, some way, we need to capture those moments if we can, either by photographing them or just by writing them down so other people can experience them through our words. Whatever it takes. Someday, as our life nears its end, we aren’t going to look back and say “Wow, I did a great job on that report that day at work.” Nope. What we will remember and what we will take with us when we go are those moments that for no special reason just took our breath away.