Recently I’ve been pondering — what is the meaning of life?
Now … there have been multiple times in my life where I sat down and thought about this question, and I don’t think I’ve ever been satisfied with an answer … until today.
For me, today, the meaning of life is to be happy. It’s as simple as that. I’m satisfied with that answer.
Being happy differs person by person, but there is a common thread. There is enough good research that shows that good relationships keep us happier and healthier. Period.
And I’ve experienced this – having long dinners, spending time with family and friends, going for a walk to the park with those you love, sitting in the backyard with your kids and your friends, hiking with a group of close friends and family, and learning something new together —> happy.
This is what happiness is for me today, and I think will be for the rest of my life.
So to that end – I want to pursue happiness, together – with friends and family.
How do we spend more time together? How can we make it a point to not lose touch? To continue that flame of friendship, love, support, trust, joyfulness.
We live in California but my family and I are immigrants. In our cultures, when we were young, we got to experience the weekly family gatherings, where all the cousins would go play while the adults cooked, told jokes, drank, and had fun. We lived in communities that were small, it took less than 30 minutes to be able to spend time together in the middle of the week, and our families did – they would show up unexpected, support when support was needed.
However, now, as I am approaching my second half of life (turning 40 in a few years), I realized that for the most part, our new society/generation does not prioritize family/friend gatherings OR we are so driven by jobs/careers that we are willing to move across the country (or the world) to pursue that career (college or job) – which breaks families and friendships apart.
Why? Because society has told us that it’s important to go after a career that will open doors for you, and if you’re lucky, to pursue that career you are passionate about.
I realize I am lucky that I have had the time to be able to ponder the meaning of life. I don’t take this for granted. Life has given me obstacles, but today, I am lucky. I’m healthy, I have a beautiful family, I have friends that care about me and that I care for, I have a job that pays the bills and more (and a job that I enjoy). My wife and I differ here, I think it’s luck and a little bit of effort, she thinks it’s effort and a little bit of luck. Regardless, we are at the middle to top of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.
Am I happy today? Somewhat. Overall I would say yes, but lately my wife and I realized that something is missing in our lives. That something is time with those we love.
Yesterday and today we had the fortune of hanging out with friends. Last week I had the fortune of visiting my sisters in a city that’s 1:30 by plane … but these connections and experiences are just temporary … a glimpse in our lives. They come and go and it takes weeks if not months to replicate. What happens in between those weeks/months? We either hang out with other people (if we’re lucky) or, what’s more common, we’re too busy working and doing every day life errands that we don’t have the opportunity to spend time with those we love.
I recently did an exercise — it was 10pm and I wanted to call someone I felt close to beyond my wife or kids, someone that would not hang up the phone because it was late, someone that would be happy to hear my voice. I called my mom. I am lucky I have that choice. But other than that, it was difficult to find someone that I can do that with — not because I don’t have friends, but because I thought: “oh, they’re too busy, tired” or “I haven’t talked to them in a while so it would be weird to call them at a random time”.
I can count with two hands the number of really close friendships I have, and I can count with one hand the number of friends I am able to see on a monthly basis. I don’t have any friends I am able to see on a weekly or daily basis besides my wife.
Why? Because of the bubble we live in – a bubble where family, friends and I work from 50+ hours/week. We make good money to spend it on nannies, daycare, expensive mortgages, fancy restaurants, extravagant trips.
Do you know how much it costs to spend time with friends? Zero: hike, beach, walk to the park. However, money is not the only cost … time is even more precious but scarce.
Reading the above makes me sound like a little whiny d**k. Yes, I can be content with this life. But I don’t want this life – I want a life where we have bonfires every night with the people we love (maybe not every night). Where we tell stories of our childhood, learn from each other, experience amazing things together — not alone.
To that end, I am starting this blog — to share my dreams, to find dreamers like me, to start a trend, to keep me accountable, and to connect with you.
Let’s pursue happiness together!
What does that look like? Keep reading to find out. I’ll try to post at least once a month.
Cheers to Our Happy Life!