I can’t believe it, but I have almost been back in the U.S. for a full year. The infamous day of my nephew’s birth is right around the corner. This year, I’ll be missing it again, but NOT foregoing my travel plans. I’m going to sunny Costa Rica, and his birthday party has been scheduled for after my return.
Karma. (Or something like that).
When I first started working at the JCC, I was talking to one of my religious coworkers about her choice to become more observant. One of the things that she said that stuck out to me was that her life has more meaning now. She’s not just going through the motions; each day means something.
I hadn’t been sold on religiosity before, but that was a compelling argument. There are times when I do feel like I’m just going through the motions. I thought to myself: “Am I doing something wrong?”
In looking back over the past year, I see that I have found a way to bring meaning to my life, and that I will hopefully only continue to bring more.
I’ve done this in a few ways:
- I have a job that I love. I love my coworkers and my boss, I love that most of my work is independent projects, I love the flexibility of the hours, the free access to the gym and fitness classes, the fact that I am directly affecting my own community, and I love the work that I do. I plan arts events! Which leads me to…
- I seek out arts events. How cool is it to plan the very type of thing I enjoy and attend at least once a week? I feel enriched by taking advantage of the great things going on in this city, thus adding a component to my personal life that my friends can’t offer.
- The friends are important, too, though, and I surround myself with good people who come with engaging conversation.
- I am (slowly but surely) pursuing new hobbies.
- I have been the most successful at #4 in the realm of fitness.
I began writing an explanation of #5, but then realized that it really was enough for its own post. So I’ll just jump to the punchline: Working on having a sound mind, sound body directs me into an overall sense of responsibility. Beginning with myself, I am responsible for making smart decisions, and this responsibility extends as far as the world we live in.
I still have a long way to go, and this will probably be a lifelong project, but just as I take care of myself, I should take care of the environment and all it contains. First I’ll start with my attitudes towards other people. The keywords here, without going into too many details, are empathy and flexibility. I need to accept that you aren’t me and adjust myself accordingly.
The next step (which can be taken concurrently) is making more “green” choices.
Numbers 1-5, and especially my new “responsibility initiative,” all serve to give meaning to my life. The goal is for every decision to be about improvement, with a healthy dose of enjoyment. If it really is an improvement, the enjoyment should come naturally.
If I knew that there was an afterlife waiting for me or that I was an actor in God’s plan, that would maybe give me some piece of mind as to WHY I’m here. It doesn’t sit well for me to live here for a few decades and then just not exist anymore. But I also can’t pretend like I do know there’s something greater than this world/life. The best I can do is to live my life to the fullest, constantly pushing myself to do more, and making the world better for everyone else.