Live Long and Prosper

19 Nov

NaNoWriNO Day 19

Topic: The meaning of life



An anonymous person e-mailed me, and the only thing the e-mail said was, “For your blog challenge you need to figure out the meaning of life.” Oh, is that all? Sounds like a piece of cake.

I’m not sure what this person is looking for. Spiritual guidance? Answers for a research paper? Stuff that can be used to impress someone he/she is trying to woo. If so, this is the wrong place for that.

Still, I kind of like the challenge. This is like the time someone said I couldn’t drink a bottle of tequila and finish an entire large pizza by myself. I rocked the dare, and completed it in less than an hour. This will be just like that, but with a lot less vomiting afterwards.

So what is the meaning of life? I started thinking about how love is obviously at the center of life. No, it’s hope. Maybe happiness? Truth. Free will. Mindfulness. Morality.

Well, damn.

Then I started thinking about my life, and what gives it meaning. I realized it’s not one thing, it’s a multitude of things. It’s deeply personal. It’s about my values and desires. It’s about about living every day in a way that would make me proud of the life I’ve lived if I died tomorrow.

Here’s how I choose to live my life:

Being a good person. Smiling at strangers. Using my manners. Tipping my waiter. Allowing the car in the lane next to me to merge. When things are on sale and I stock up, I leave one thing on the shelf so someone else can get it on sale too.

Acts of service. Helping a friend move. Buying a coworker lunch just because. Cooking my friend her favorite meal. Offering to watch a friend’s kid so she and her husband can have alone time. Doing the dishes even though it’s not my turn.

Laughter. Watching the same funny movies over and over. Doing my valley girl and southern accent impersonations because it makes my friend laugh. Threatening my teenage sister that I’ll do the tootsie roll at her next high school dance.

Giving back. Donating money as often as I’m able to. Buying the stranger in the car behind me a coffee at a Starbucks drive-thru. Carrying around quarters and giving them to homeless people. Adopting a family during the holidays.

Experiencing nature. Going for a hike. Visiting a waterfall I’ve only seen in magazines. Standing outside in the rain. Literally stopping and smelling the roses. Dipping my toe into the Columbia River. Kayaking on lakes.

Being a big sister. Holding it together when they need me to be strong for them. Listening when they are going through tough times. Offering advice from experience. Not taking sides when they’re in a fight.

Creating. Finding and attempting new DIY projects. Making art instead of buying it. Writing on this blog. Trying my hand at new recipes. Dressing in a way that’s unique to me.

Self-sufficiency. Working hard so I don’t have to depend on anyone else to take care of me. Thinking out the problem instead of immediately running to someone else for the answer. My independent spirit.

Being myself. Living my life according to my own plan. Never being afraid to admit that I listen to Britney Spears, or watch reality television. Dancing in the middle of the grocery store because it’s fun. Authenticity in my actions.

What’s the meaning of your life?


Thanks to the mystery (wo)man who suggested this topic. Perhaps your goal was to get me to think about my own life, and to get others thinking about theirs? Much appreciated.

NaNoWriNO Day 18

NaNoWriNO Day 20

89 Responses to “Live Long and Prosper”

  1. travellingmo 12/12/2012 at 10:42 am #

    That was pretty awesome. I too am having a hard time wrapping my head around that question but I don’t think I could answer as perfectly as you have! I am currently stuck in retail during the holiday season so reading something this genuine and meaningful really helps to get through. Thanks!

    • Jen and Tonic 12/14/2012 at 6:26 pm #

      Retail during anytime of the year is hard, but during the holidays is even harder. Lots of positive thoughts your way! May the customers not suck donkey balls.

  2. benzeknees 11/20/2012 at 1:49 pm #

    I think share love & be kind are the best things a person can do with their life. I have participated in the “Pay It Forward” thing by buying coffee for a person behind me in the drive-thru at Tim Horton’s & have been a recipient of having coffee bought for me. I don’t know which one feels better because they both feel amazing!

    • Jen and Tonic 11/23/2012 at 11:40 am #

      Ah! You’ve done it too? Isn’t it the most amazing feeling in the world? Kudos to you for spreading kindness.

  3. vyvacious 11/20/2012 at 10:58 am #

    The meaning of my life is FOOD. I love to eat it, create it, and share it. I love traveling the world just so that people can share with me their culture and society through food. I love that my family and friends know that it’s integrated deep within me and they strive to connect to me via my food obsession.

    I also live for the spontaneity of life within my very tightly-scheduled days. I too love dancing when no one and everyone is watching. I like to help people see the brighter things in life.

    Thanks for your post 🙂

    • Jen and Tonic 11/23/2012 at 11:39 am #

      Anybody whose meaning of life is food is a friend of mine! I think it’s a great way to celebrate, to bond, to show someone you love them, show them how you grew up. Food can actually say a lot about a person.

      • vyvacious 11/23/2012 at 12:18 pm #

        I completely agree! I love all the different layers and personality that can come from multiple variations of a dish. I almost thrive off of making a dish slightly modified each time to project how I’m feeling at that very second.

  4. Adrienne schmadrienne 11/20/2012 at 6:18 am #

    Love it! I was just recently pondering the meaning of life and I came up with no grand meaning. I don’t feel a need to attach a profound purpose to my existence but I think it’s uber important to just be a good person. As I get older I realize that simplicity is important. The things I put importance on I didn’t learn through religion. I learned them by being considerate and respectful. Life’s too short to take things so seriously.

    • Jen and Tonic 11/23/2012 at 11:37 am #

      Simplicity IS Important. It’s only something I’ve learned in the last few years, and it has really helped me clarify many things in my life. And totally agreed, life is way too short to be so serious.

  5. Kimberly 11/19/2012 at 10:48 pm #

    Wonderful wonderful wonderful! Also, I am impressed – so impressed – with your daily posts and their quality! Whoop! Keep at it!

    • Jen and Tonic 11/23/2012 at 11:35 am #

      Thanks for saying that! I’ve wondered if everyone realized how hard I’ve had to push myself the last week days as opposed to the first week. It has been rough, and I was hoping it didn’t show too much 😉

  6. GiggsMcGill Jill 11/19/2012 at 10:13 pm #

    This is beautiful! 🙂 You’re beautiful! ^.^

    • Jen and Tonic 11/23/2012 at 11:34 am #

      Thanks! I’ve been lucky to meet other beautiful people (like you) here on WordPress.

  7. iRuniBreathe 11/19/2012 at 9:56 pm #

    I’m liking your “lead by example” (without being pretentious) take on life. Simple acts of kindness and caring go a long way, whether acknowledged or not.
    I tried the Starbucks thing but I never know what the person behind me in line wants to drink. Do you just decided on an arbitrary amount and call it good?

    • Jen and Tonic 11/23/2012 at 11:34 am #

      If I’m at the drive up window, I ask the cashier what the person behind me is having. If it’s a lot of stuff, I say I’ll buy one of the drinks. If it’s in person, I’ll turn to the person behind me and just tell them I want to buy them a drink of their choice that day.

      • iRuniBreathe 11/23/2012 at 11:53 am #

        Duh. Of course they would already know at the drive up window what the next person was having. I completely forgot about that (obvious) fact.

        I once offered to pay for someone’s really expensive cheese in the grocery store. It had somehow been rung in with my groceries but I only noticed that cheese that was not mine was going into my bags. I said to save everyone the trouble I’d just pay for it and we could leave things as is. But both the cashier and the person in line behind me were so embarrassed they just wanted the charge removed and to pay for it themselves. Funny when we can’t even accept what is given to us.

        • Jen and Tonic 11/23/2012 at 12:22 pm #

          Absolutely! It is really hard for people to accept little acts of kindness. It’s why the drive thru thing is perfect, I’m already gone and they can’t refuse.

  8. A Dog With Fleas 11/19/2012 at 8:23 pm #

    Wonderful post and love your list!! The meaning of life to me is to live the next day better then the last by learning one new thing each day. Loving my family, do not live in judgement of others and always live your life in kindness. Even in the cashier is snotty and disgruntled, just think that maybe she is having a bad day and give everyone the benefit of the doubt.

    And for this great post, hope someone buys you coffee tomorrow!

    • Jen and Tonic 11/23/2012 at 11:32 am #

      The different meanings to your life are wonderful! I love the idea of living your life in kindness. The world would be a better place if we all did that.

  9. Love and Lunchmeat 11/19/2012 at 7:51 pm #

    The anonymous coffee is just about the nicest thing ever. I’m not sure what the meaning of my life is, aside from getting my children to adulthood without too much emotional scarring. I may have to get back to you on that.

    • Jen and Tonic 11/23/2012 at 11:31 am #

      Getting your kids to adulthood without scarring them is a hard thing to do. It’s why I’m not having kids. I’d surely leave them with hundreds of thousands of dollars in therapy bills.

  10. Ashley Austrew 11/19/2012 at 5:39 pm #

    What a great idea for a post! You sound like a lovely person to know 🙂


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