The question in this article’s title came to mind after I read, Tolstoy’s “The Death of Ivan Ilych and watched the film, “Ikiru”. Both stories have a common theme of a man buried in bureaucracy, who has a terminal illness. He realizes he hasn’t lived at all! They both, through facing death, figured out their lives contained no meaning for them.
One of the quotes in “Ikiru” was; “Men are such fools, they only realize life’s beauty when they are faced with death.”
It makes you think: It’s man’s duty to enjoy life. Most of us, in our day-to-day routine, have artificial lives marked by shallow relationships, self-interest and materialism. This leaves us barren of meaning in our lives.
When the two protagonists face death it changes the way they see the world. Death forces them to give their life meaning that is their own.
If you look over your shoulder the Grim Reaper is right behind you. So, while you have life, enjoy it.
So much depression and neuroses happen in a person’s life because they feel life hasn’t any real significance. You and I live in the here and now. What will you do with the time that lies ahead of you? This time is unshaped and full of uncertainty. When you stand at this present point in life maybe you will take a completely different direction to the one which has made you who you are.
So, How Do You Live? You need to find something that is important to you. Some activity that you can throw yourself into, so you connect with the world in a way that you feel “things matter”.
Things happen in life (illness, lost of a loved one, etc.), but you can still find meaning in life if your attitude is positive.
I, personally, find meaning through writing. My writing ignites a spark in me so I am aware of the fact that I am alive and to make the most of it. There is so much to be written, it can keep you busy for a lifetime. So much to be explored through the written word. I have the freedom to write ANYTHING, but of course, it won’t be EVERYTHING!
That thought allows me to choose what I write about and those choices illuminate the meanings in my life. I write about what is meaningful to me.
Writing, to me, is what makes my life, in retirement, worthwhile.
That’s How I Live!
This article was posted by David Wise author of “Web of Guilt”, “24 Traumatic Hours, Twice”, and “The Becoming”.
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Also published on Medium.