Why are you looking at books for the meaning of life? Why do you need 300 memes a day on Facebook to convince you that living for now, being nice, learning to love yourself is worthwhile? Why do you need your friends’ approval before you can just be content with who you are, and what you have?
Just like the allegorical There’s a Hole in My Sidewalk by Portia Nelson, over and over I fall into holes, and eventually crawl my way up and out. I think the problem is I’m looking down, trying not to make another misstep. And that’s the misstep, right there. I long thought the meaning in my life was in raising my kids, and it was and it is, but everything changes, and sometimes you’re just left figuring out where you are and where you want to be. So my job in the holes is to draw meaning from the mud I’m standing in – a little something to take along on the journey, because I can’t just stay in these holes and cry me a river. I have more places to go before I die.
About meaning. Meaning is what you make of it folks. The meaningfulness fairy stopped delivering, and you’re going to have to work for yourself. Actually, in an odd twist, that’s sort of the main meaning I’ve gotten from all these stupid holes. I have to work for myself. For most of my life I’ve allowed other people to define me, criticize me, find me worthy or unworthy, and set expectations for me. I’ve let things “happen” to me while shrugging and trying to defend my position. Digging holes, you might say. I mean, these aren’t all holes someone made for me without my consent. I helped soften the earth beneath my feet.
When you give people that kind of power, the power to tell you you’re not good enough? You are telling them and yourself that you’re not. You? You deserve better, but you’re not really my responsibility either. I’ll try to set an example, though, because you never know who’s watching.
I don’t have power over what people say or think about me. I don’t have power over my own hurt feelings, really. What I do have is power to allow myself to feel without judgement, but with love, and to try things without expectation or regret. In fact, I think it’s not really power, but responsibility. I owe myself my honest feelings, my best efforts, and as much forgiveness and understanding as I can muster. This isn’t being selfish. This is living. Throw me a rope please, I’m coming up again.