“Meaning is not something you stumble across, like the answer to a riddle or the prize in a treasure hunt. Meaning is something you build into your life. You build it out of your own past, out of your affections and loyalties, out of the experience of humankind as it is passed on to you, out of your own talent and understanding, out of the things you believe in, out of the things and people you love, out of the values for which you are willing to sacrifice something. The ingredients are there. You are the only one who can put them together into that unique pattern that will be your life. Let it be a life that has dignity and meaning for you. If it does, then the particular balance of success or failure is of less account.”
– John W. Gardner
I love this quote…
Seeing the end of Smallville has sparked a small, if not slightly obvious, epiphany: I now have a lot of time on my hands.
Being on a network television show for nearly a decade, I had not yet considered this unknown luxury.
It is an amazing thing, no doubt, but it is also terrifying at the same time.
I have an awesome life. I really do. I am blessed with so many friends, family, a wealth of opportunity and love. It is an amazing and wonderful thing.
But there is something more to life, more than the things I do and the people I interact with. There is meaning. There is what I want my life to mean and what kind of person I want to be. Both of which are, and only can be, determined by me. Through my choices and the thoughts that drive them, through the connected-ness I choose to see or not, and through the effort I put into knowing myself, I create the meaning of my existence.
The world is a wonderful and joyous place filled with the most beautiful and tragic acts happening in every moment, if you choose to see it, that is. I seem to be an addict of this life. I can’t get enough, and while I’m enjoying it, at the same time I’m terrified of losing it – of not being satiated with the world in front of me. But it’s the world inside of me, my internal experience of the world, that truly needs my attention.
To be quiet, to dig deep, to root out the subtext of each potent experience, asking why it means anything to me at all, I believe is how I will stop my internal world from spinning out of control, and allow myself to enjoy every moment, regardless of the circumstances.
I’m going to take time every day to stop and think about what I’m doing, not just plow through with little to no consideration. I believe making that deliberate and conscious choice to stop, at least once each day, to look at what is in front of me, what it means and why, will help me build and deepen that sense of meaning I’ve been searching for.
Wanting to leave the world a better place and not realizing where I fit into that plan is the one concept that never seems to stay strong and clear in my mind.
I want this year to be one of distillation and purpose. A year of clarification and celebration as I attempt to emerge with depth, wisdom, and intent.