What defines you? What gives your life meaning? Is it definition and meaning enough simply that we are here?
Possibly the simplest way to give life instant purpose is to become a parent. No longer are our own petty foibles allowed brain space because our whole reason for being is now the child and the responsibilities that accompany that role; well some parents are like that. Yet does being a parent define us? As we are told that we mustn’t allow ourselves to be defined by another, this surely must also include our offspring.
For the rest of us childless wonders, what else is there to give us just cause to walk this Earth? Loving our partner? Tireless charity work? Entertaining the masses with music, art, prose? What about those that have no extraordinary mark to make? The individual who has no-one to love; lives a lonely life; has a dead end job; no family around; lost ambitions? I know of such a person. He is an intelligent man; great sense of humour; a wise head on his shoulders; a grafter at work; and has a lot of love to give. He successfully kept two jobs for many years, until his progressing alcoholism cost him his nightclub pot boy job (yes, he was drinking the profits in the cellar); and he kept his day job, and bedsit home, by the skin of his teeth when the business owner’s son agreed to cover up his onsite drinking, and the landlord showed him continued mercy at his rent day failings. Friends, including myself, helped him at times but his path just seemed to grow darker and lonelier. How did life forget him? A person I am no longer in contact with, but whom I still consider to be amazing; a truly honest, genuine, beautiful soul. If I was a religious person I might suggest that God had forsaken him. What meaning, or definition, has he and his life?
An instinctive response to his predicaments is that he chose his destiny, he allowed his addiction to take control by not fighting it. The reality, of course, is not so black and white. Having said that, we are not born alcoholics, drug addicts, food addicts. We choose our addictions. Unless fought these problems will control us and what happens to us. I have remained overweight my whole life because, for years, I chose not to fight it. Now it is an ongoing battle to reverse the weight problem I have caused.
How big a statement do our lives have to make before we can feel accomplished? In truth, as there are endless potentials, we can never accomplish everything life has to offer. One of my life goals is to get (cough) stones off. When I achieve that, what next? Winning the fat battle won’t define me, but it will strengthen my character. Life doesn’t stop once you’ve reached a goal, you simply set a new one. I dream of finding someone where love and life combine harmoniously; and of a wedding day so full of love and beauty there wouldn’t be a dry eye in the house, and that I’d leave the ceremony looking like Alice Cooper for the make-up that has disintegrated from the river of happiness befalling my eyes……sorry, off on a tangent there…. But would that define me? Would becoming a wife give my life meaning?
None of these life events should be afforded the responsibility of giving us purpose. If I put all the weight back on or ended up divorced, the illusion of post-life-event-definition would, therefore, be shattered. Belief systems would crash and burn.
No, I vote that what gives us meaning, or defines us, should be reflected in the kindness we show others as well as ourselves. The simple things. My friend has made his mark by being memorable, loveable and providing fond memories. It may not be grand enough to change the world, but it’s enough to have affected my life, and others, in a positive way.
I’d like to think I’ve already made my mark in this world. We may not be everyone’s cup o’ tea, but if we know that we’re well regarded; we have helped people and are remembered and thought of fondly because of our actions, then that makes us most accomplished indeed. For me, being Mrs Slim will be an added bonus!