How to Find Meaning: A step by step guide

man holding shovel
Photo by Mumtahina Rahman on

Life is pain… Life is pain and suffering… Life is pain and suffering and sometimes popsicles.

I mean it’s not all bad, right?  Sure, it feels all bad most days.  Sure, it feels like, ” What is the point of going to the job again, to pay my bills?  I don’t even like these bills.”  So, then what is the point.  What is the meaning of any of it?

The Meaning of Life

When I was a child I would spend most days outside, running around with other kids in the neighborhood doing anything.  Digging holes with my mom’s spoons, playing basketball, playing doorbell ditch, riding bikes downhills that aren’t safe to drive down.

Why?  Well, because what else was there to do?  And, why not?  As kids, we poured hour after hour of ourselves into all the stupid little things kids do and found ourselves full of energy and joy.

We lost track of time, of eating or drinking, you know the basics of human survival. We didn’t care that we were covered in sweat and mud and our clothes were ruined.  Did it matter?  No, not really.  Because we were so invested in the joy of experiencing the digging of dirt in the side of a hill with spoons, because we believed we could dig enough to make a cave, and that cave would be an amazing place to hang out in.  It didn’t matter that it was at the back of our apartment complex and in plain view to anyone walking or driving by. No, we had a vision, a dream, of the greatest hideout since the Super Friends and we dedicated time to dig every day after school.  We had most of the kids in the neighborhood working on this project and most of the spoons in my mom’s silverware collection.

It took over a week before we got caught by the maintenance guy in the apartment complex and had to stop our dig.  Honestly, we didn’t put much of a dent in that hill, Red Clay is not easy to dig and we were using old silverware.  My mom was not happy about the destruction of her spoons, but she did laugh when I told her what we were doing and patted me on the head saying, “Keep having fun, just don’t use my things to do it.  You want a popsicle?”  My mom is cool like that.

All us kids were pretty bummed when we were forced to quit digging, so we sat out by the hill and commiserated about it to each other.  We got angry, we laughed, we decided it probably wasn’t the best idea anyway, got up and moved on.  In less than 15 mins were back scavaging the apartment complex for hiding places we could set up base.  Our kid base.

Because, as a little kid we knew it without even trying.  We knew the meaning of life.  Which is this.

Do Something, Do anything, and completely lose yourself in the process of it.

Then when its over, grieve it.  Let it pass from you.  Then do it again. 

It really is that simple.

It’s not easy, but it is simple.  The trick as we get older is to find things that we really enjoy getting lost in.  As I have gotten older my attention has become more cynical and decerning, because I’m an adult and adults are serious dammit.

Being a serious adult is important, you got bills to pay and all those damn bent and muddy spoons to wash.  How then does one lose one’s self?

How to lose yourself in the process

  1. Start doing the thing you would like to do.
  2. Stop when someone yells at you to stop doing the thing you are enjoying.
  3. Start again when that person goes away.

See, simple.  Just get started on doing what you want to do.  Everything else that needs your attention will find your attention.  You don’t even have to try.  My bills show up in my mailbox, and when they really want money they call me or send letters with red ink.

What about my kids Matt?  Great question, put them outside and do what they are doing with them.  They will teach you the way of purpose and meaning.  Getting lost with the ones you love the most is the best.

Then when you are done have some popsicles with them.

So, if we can go back and remember how to lose ourselves to the joy of doing something, anything, we will have lived a life worth living.  A life filled with purpose and meaning.

That is ultimately what we want right?  A meaningful life?

Well, there is the secret to it.

I should have charged for this, dammit.




Published by Matthew Whiteside

I am a writer, a storyteller, a yarn-spinning freakazoid. My life is full of two things today, lessons and blessings. I write fiction mostly but I also love to write about my life and the things I go through on a daily basis. Writing it out inspires and motivates me and that's why I do it. Plus if it does that for me maybe it will for someone else too.

2 thoughts on “How to Find Meaning: A step by step guide

  1. Beeeooootiful! I love the story. I could visualize all of it and it brought back similar memories of my own childhood. It made me want to go grab my kids and get lost exploring in the forest today looking for fairies and unicorns while hiding from a dragon.
    It is a great reminder to keep it simple, not take ourselves so seriously, and that the best memories usually stem from the littlest things. Also if you want magic in your life, make it happen. Otherwise you might wait forever. 🧚🏻 🦄 🐉 💕


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