Saturday, March 24, 2007

Discovering the Meaning of Life

When I was sixteen I launched a survey among my friends, and coworkers at the movie theater where I worked, and asked what for them was the meaning of life. When I first started thinking about it, I had no idea how different the answers I would get would be from the type of answer of which I was thinking. I remember how stunned I felt when my boss said that it is to work, and to work hard. Most of my friends said that it was simply to have fun. I was equally stunned by this. I mean, there is so much more to life than work, and also so, so, so much more to life than just having fun. However, there was one person who felt the way I did, and that was my friend Brad. We had long discussions about the meaning of life, confirming that we both thought that there was more to the question than a one sentence response. For years I contemplated the question, and always ended up figuring that I would never be able to pin it down.

A year ago this spring, while on a walk under the beautiful puffy clouds that appear for only about two weeks each spring in Southern California, it occurred to me that I had actually discovered the meaning of life, at least for myself. I realized that I had known all along what the meaning of life was for me, but that I just hadn't put it together. What was so confusing was that I was always trying to boil it down to one, essential thing. But for me that one essential thing, is the link between study and art. The funny thing about it all, is that those two things I have been doing all my life, albeit not always in an orthodox manner. While it may sound pedantic to some to pin a name of something like this, it was important to me. The problem for me was that whenever I was studying I felt like I had strayed from the path, if study was not my purpose in life. Likewise, when I was making art I felt like I was just flouncing around having a good time, if that was not my purpose. When I was studying, I pined to be making art, and when I made art, I always spent lots of time in the library. Now I finally understand that this is often the case with artists; in order to create any work of substance, a person has to study a lot. And of course, also make lots of artwork. So even when I thought I was so lost, so purposeless, I was actually right on track all along.

2 comments:

Theresa said...

I think the meaning of life is loving yourself no matter what you do. If you are doing the things you love you'll end up loving yourself too, so if studying and art is what you love you're definitely on the right track.

Heidi said...

I totally agree with theresa!