Life begins in a day. Life ends in a day.
One is celebrated, the other is mourned. What happens in between is up to each of us.
For some that dash may be a representation of years of service to their community, commitment to a successful career and devotion to their family. There are usually decades represented by that simple dash.
Everyone runs around in such a rush nowadays. Kids want to grow up faster. Ninth graders are expected to know what they want to be when they grow up. They are expected to commit to courses and programs that define their future career. Some graduate high school with a college degree. Where did all the pressure come from for teens to be so committed to their future. What happened to letting teens have fun during their high school years?
As young adults, there is a rush to achieve a degree, job, spouse, home, kids and a dog. This worldly image of what we should achieve or be by certain ages turns into a competition and comparison. When we start comparing ourselves to others is where we fail ourselves. We are each unique. We should live our lives appreciating that uniqueness…not questioning why we are not more like someone else.
As grown, mature adults we work harder to make more money to buy more things. We try to climb a ladder of success, that for some they feel proudly defined by. We plan for the day that we retire and can enjoy all the intended life-changing escapades. Life becomes a monotonous cycle of what we think is expected of us. Days roll into years and time flies by until we wake up one day to realize what really matters.
What really matters to you?
Why does it take some of us so long to realize what is truly important in life? Unfortunately, it is a result of trying to always do what others think is the next step in the right direction. We have an internal desire to be accepted, accomplished and praised.
For some people the realization comes too late in life.
People have plans that never come to fruition because by the time they retire they are physically, mentally or emotionally worn out. The big dreams of one day never happen. So much time and effort was wasted planning instead of doing.
When someone looks at your dash, what will they really see?
Will they see all the money you earned?
Will they see that big house you had?
Will they see your new ride with the cool rims?
I hope not.
Personally, I hope they see the fun and adventure that I choose to fill my life with.
I hope they see that I lived…I was enjoying life and all this world that God has to offer. I hope people can see where I encouraged others to get outdoors and have fun, appreciate nature and just simply live. I hope they have memories of being a part of my adventures with me. Stories they can share with others and laugh about. I hope my dash is a symbol of not just a kind, friendly, God-fearing woman who loved her husband, kids, grandkids, family and friends, but –
An adventurous Grandma who rocked life in the outdoors!
I pondered if this thought of a meaningful life was realistic, if people of different ages or stages in life had different opinions. I reached out to teamHLAW and asked them a few questions. Funny enough, age, marital status and whether they have furbabies, no kids, have kids at home or grown didn’t make a difference in their responses.
So what did teamHLAW think creating a meaningful life meant?
Creating a meaningful life means to leave a positive impact helping others, taking care of the environment, etc. As a Christian it also means spending time in prayer and studying my Bible.
It means holy cow this is hard! Okay it means making the world a little bit better by searching for ways to show kindness and love.
It means leaving this world a little bit better than I found it by being thoughtful, positive and loving towards everyone and everything.
To me, a meaningful life is one that is rich in community, love and the ability to positively enrich the lives of others. As much as I love nature & adventures, I believe true “meaning” comes from the connections fostered with other humans. I have a need to leave people better than I found them, to inspire goodness in as many hearts as possible, and to make pure, unfiltered joy a normal everyday expression.
I think creating a meaningful life for me involves being a positive part of a community. At work this means helping my patients get better, and working as a team with my coworkers. In my social life it means having close friends that keep in touch with and check in with often, and working to be part of their lives and build them up. In the outdoors it means things like safety checking your buddies when you are doing higher risk activities (ex. When rock climbing checking your partner’s knots, checking that harnesses are on correctly, belay device is setup correctly, calling “belay” “belay is on”, etc), practicing LNT principles, not being elitist when you are around people that are new to outdoor activities and instead making them feel welcome.
To me, creating a meaningful life is learning to be present in every moment. Not escaping life with whatever distracts us. Following God, loving people and showing compassion, mercy and grace. To allow your truth and voice be heard, even in daily conversations.
For me creating a meaningful life means staying sober, first and foremost. Without sobriety, there is no life for me. After that is means always trying to live outside my selfish, self-centered nature by doing for others, practicing gratitude and being brave enough to do the things that scare me. And everything scares me. I’m a loner by nature, so I have to work at maintaining personal relationships. They are a constant struggle for me. But without them, I am that selfish person I am trying not to be. I’m not sure of that makes any sense. But it’s what popped in my head.
A meaningful life for me is living each day like it could be your last and being thankful for every moment you are given.
Creating a meaningful life to me means not living to work but working to live. Many are keeping up with the Jones’ but we are collecting moments and memories, not things and enjoying the simple things like each other and nature.
It’s obvious that I found my tribe in teamHLAW; women with not just a shared love for the outdoors but also for humanity.
What does creating a meaningful life mean to you?
What will your dash symbolize?