What is the meaning of life?

Nancy A Davis is good friend and I have invited her to participate in my ‘ghost’ to the post series; I discovered her by chance when she first started to write and was immediately intrigued. It wasn’t the nice, soft social media stories I had been reading; her’s were powerful, real and totally from the heart. It took me by surprise but made me a fan. You can find her at nancyadavis.wordpress.com or on Twitter at NancyD68. Please take the time to stop by and say hello and enjoy her post.

What Is the Meaning Of Life?

 When Bill asked me to guest (ghost) post, I thought about the one question my head can’t wrap around – What is the meaning of life?

 What if the meaning of life is simply to be the best possible person you can be? What if we have been complicating the heck out of everything with all of these self-help gurus, and working on “issues” that maybe are not as problematic as we once thought. I drive myself crazy with my flaws, when what I really need to do is give myself a break. This is not the meaning of life.

What if the meaning of life is to be present in this very moment?

Ain’t that some cold water dumped on your head?

Some things need to be said – and if we are really looking for meaning in our lives we better pay attention to the things and the people around us. Life is fragile, and everything can be gone in a heartbeat. I wonder if we all get so stuck in our heads that our hearts get left behind. I have learned not to hold back telling someone how much I love them. Life is meant to be lived, and there is no life without love.

I know I am guilty of “paralysis by analysis” I think so much about the problem that I actually make it bigger. I need to not think so much. Some days it really is alright to just turn the music up and see where that takes you. Some days it takes me somewhere I didn’t mean to go.

Just like life.

Some days I am a love song. I can be gentle and loving and kind. Some days I am Helter Skelter. I can be full of rage and aggression. I am unfailingly human. I am far from perfect. I have however, learned to find meaning in all the small things that make up life. I think that is the whole point. Those little moments that no one thinks twice about, that stuff is where our character is created. That is the real meaning of  life. Those little moments all add up, and before you know it, you have lived your life.

What is the meaning of life for you?


Nancy Davis is a freelance writer, for Indicium Media Group. She is also a  content editor and social media blogger for Melen LLC. Follow her on Twitter.


88 thoughts on “What is the meaning of life?

  1. I have to quote this note written by 85 year old Nadine Star (found in a drawer after her death):

    “If I had my life to live over, I’d try to make more mistakes next time. I would relax, I would limber up, I’d be sillier than I have been on this trip. I would take fewer things seriously. I would be less hygienic. I would take more chances. I would take more trips. I would climb more mountains, swim more rivers, and watch more sunsets. I would burn more gasoline. I would eat more ice cream and less beans. I would have more actual troubles and fewer imaginary ones.

    You see, I’m one of those people who lives sensibly and sanely hour after hour, day after day. Oh, I’ve had my moments and if I had my life to live over, I’d have more of them. In fact, I’d have nothing else. Just moments, one after another, instead of living so many years ahead each day. I’ve been one of those people who never goes anywhere without a thermometer, a hot water bottle, a rain coat and a parachute. If I had my life to live over, I’d go places and do things and travel lighter than I have.

    If I had my life to live over I would start barefoot earlier in the spring & stay that way later in the fall. I would play hooky more. I wouldn’t make such good grades, except by accident. I’d ride more merry-go-rounds. I’d pick more daisies.”

    -Nadine Starr ”

    I guess that sums it up quite nicely 🙂

    • That does sum it up very nicely and even though we all know it’s so true, it’s hard to get yourself to quit taking yourself so seriously and stop to smell the roses.

      Life is a precious journey not a destination; enjoy it and take pictures along the way.

      Thanks for stopping by to say hi to Nancy, much appreciated.

    • Oh, I absolutely love this. The late Erma Bombeck wrote something similar in her “If I had my life to live over again” letter http://chainletters.net/chainletters/erma-bombecks-if-i-had-my-life-to-live-over/ Nancy, you already know that I am a big fan of your writing and this is a thought provoking post, indeed. I have actually tried really embracing one of your statments “What if the meaning of life is to be present in this very moment?” because, I am trying very hard to really live life in the moment. Intuitively, you would think that living in the moment is sort of a “no, duh” activity. Turns out…not so much. It is very difficult in the world in which we live to not fret over the past and worry ourselves silly about the future. And in jumping back and forth between the past and the future, we totally miss the beauty of the moment right in front of our noses. And so…with the words of Nadine Starr and Erma Bombeck cheering me on, I will continue in my quest to really be present to the moment. Because, good or bad, that moment is so very precious! And thank you Bill for having the very awesome Nancy do this fabulous ghost post!

    • Hey Frank, I really liked your comment about getting so stuck in our heads……which we do so often. It’s like golf and you can be a ‘technical’ golfer or play by ‘feel’. Sometimes you need to live life by ‘feel’, quit trying to be so technical about it.

      Thanks for dropping by and saying hi to Nancy, hope all is well and good to see you.

    • Hi Frank,

      I get so stuck in my head. When Bill asked me to guest post for him, this was the first thing that came to mind, and instead of analyzing it to death, I just went with it. I am very glad you like the result.

      Living from the head and the heart – I really like that Frank!

  2. Nancy, it’s great to see you over here at Bill’s. A great post, and one that underscores the importance of living the moment. One of my favourite books is “Living the Moment” by Lance Secretan. When I read it many years ago, it gave me a mantra to live by in this quote:

    “You are wise to have discovered that when you give yourself to the Moment, you are not living in the Moment, nor are you living for the Moment, you are simply living the Moment – nobly, passionately and with love. And every Moment deserves everything you have to give.”

    I derived my simple 3-word Mission in life after reading that book, which is – To Spread Joy.

    The meaning of life for me? Living the Moment and Spreading Joy. Very simple. Liberating. Rich. We tend to complicate things, over-think things and get so busytizzy that moments pass, and we never truly experience them. I want to experience each and every moment.

    Thanks, Nancy, for a post that reaffirms my commitment to do just that. Cheers! Kaarina

    • It’s a shame you have to give conscious thought to do it, but the more we can live the moment and be totally ‘in’, the more you can experience and appreciate it.

      I will have to check out the book; I wonder if they have an American version?

      Good to see you today ma’am; thanks for stopping by and saying hi to Nancy.

    • That is awesome. To Spread Joy. You certainly do know how to spread joy. I can attest to that personally!

      Thanks for such a great comment!

      • Thanks so much Nancy, for that lovely comment, and for tackling such a profound topic from such a great perspective. What’s the John Lennon quote? “Life is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans.” If we don’t Live the Moment and treasure the moment, it just all passes by. Cheers! Kaarina

  3. Good morning again Nancy!

    The purpose of life is to learn and to apply the principles of happiness while travelling through mud puddles, and to offer a hand with what you’ve learned when sitting on mt. peaks. I like simple things!

    Have a good one!

  4. Hey Ms Nancy, I really like your post; of course, I got to see it before everyone else, huh?

    It appears there is an early common thread about living for the moment and letting your heart help guide your decisions. I know you are facing some ‘crossroad’ decisions and maybe some of the wisdom being shared will help make your decision and commitment easier.

    Thank you so much for accepting my offer; it is much appreciated.

    I hope you have a lovely day.

    • I am so glad you asked me. I do not take offers like this lightly at all. I am so happy that we met and became friends.

      Yeah, I guess there is a theme if you read a bunch of my posts in a row, isn’t there? 🙂

      I appreciate all you do and am glad to be in your “house’ for the day. 🙂

  5. Hi Nancy, Hi Bill,
    What is the meaning of life? I should have nabbed Nancy for this one before you got her Bill! What a question! I have no ready answer. I like yours, though – finding meaning in small things.
    Kudos to you Nancy for tackling this topic! Better you than me (though I think I’ll have to bring it up – sometime- on Life, for instance LOL)

    • My inbox is always open to you Lori! 🙂 I came up with this after Bill asked me to just blog about whatever I wanted. I thought it might be good to answer a question – boy did I pick a doozy to answer! 🙂

      Finding meaning in small things – like hanging with my son or making homemade pizza.:) yeah, I like that answer


      • Yeah, next you can post on solving world peace or something……….keep the easy ones out there…………….:). Homemade pizza is probably right up there………

    • My answer was beer and chips, but I didn’t see anyone following suit so I tried to think of something more prophetic. Personally, I think it is to help others and make it a better place because you were here.

      I also think sometimes the small things are overlooked and we should try to find meaning and enjoy the small and understated things.

  6. I think for me, it means to be fully present in the moment. That’s really tough to do on an ongoing basis – there is so much to distract us. But when we do, and I’m trying to learn how to do it better, there are so many different facets of our personalities that come out, each enjoying their moment in the sun (without being a split personality… you know what I mean). And I think that makes for a full life.

    • Hi Shonali,

      I know exactly what you mean. There are times to be a worker, times to be a mom, or a girlfriend. How do I stay present to all of it? Sometimes I do better with it than other times. That is part of life I guess.

    • My challenge is, I say it and I know it, but sometimes I have to ‘make’ myself be present in the moment; just slow down and enjoy the moment.

      I might have said this to you before because of your dog post, but dogs truly do live for the moment, the present. They don’t care much what has happened before or what might happen later, but there sure are there for you right now, huh? Probably not a bad thing to mimic, huh?

  7. Today is my 35th birthday and I must admit, I feel that this post was written just for me. I am sure I didn’t stumble upon it by chance. Thank you Nancy–for “ghost posting” such meaningful goodness. I agree with you. The meaning of life IS to be present in the moment, right now, to simply LIVE your life. I’ve always loved the quote, “Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans.” I don’t know who said it, but they could have said it to me and been spot on. This year I will live my life as fully present as possible, living fully, picking daisies and leaving my hot water bottle, thermometer and parachute behind more often.

    Thank you for such a meaningful post. It’s touched me at my core.

    • I am so happy then that you found this post helpful then Rachel. Comments like yours are why I blog in the first place. 🙂

      “Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans’ that is from John Lennon – he was one deep guy. 🙂

      Happy birthday, and many more!


    • Hey, Nancy just had a birthday……….I think it was 30-something………….:)

      Life truly is what happens when you are making other plans. That is why you have to step back and enjoy the moment; truly embrace it and live for the moment.

      Happy birthday to you Leo and hope you have a great one. Thanks for stopping by and saying hello to Nancy. I also hope you continue to have a fabulous journey.

  8. Great job Nancy. so glad to see you on bill’s blog. ( He is all right, I guess ).

    Life is about enjoying the moment. Appreciating what we have. Being thankful.

    Family and friends. Helping each other. Being of service. Smiling.

    Ok, thats what i got. C ya.



    • Smiling is good; it makes people think you know something they don’t……….:)

      If we spend more time appreciating what we have it certainly aligns yourself to live a more purposeful life instead of always wanting, coveting what someone else has.

      Good to see you Al, hope you afternoon meeting went well. Thanks for stopping by.

    • Hi Al,

      I love all the replies here. Helping each other really is what it is all about right?

      Thanks for everything 🙂


  9. Hey Nancy,

    Good stuff here. The first thing I thought about after reading the post was a quote by Robert Byrne and namely “The purpose of life is a life of purpose”. So what is a life of purpose? As for me it means two things. First is to always grow, to always challenge yourself and push your own boundaries further. To try and reach what you believe is unreachable. And the second thing as some folks mentioned here is to be helping. Not because you have to and not because someone told you.

    Just my two cents,


    • Hi Daniel,

      That is a really great quote you mention. Challenging yourself and pushing yourself farther than you originally thought you could do is such a great way to learn.

      I still like helping others – not for reward but simply because I can!

      Have a great day


    • Hey Daniel, thanks for taking the time to stop by and say hi to Nancy. I think the quote is very appropriate “The purpose of life is a life of purpose”.

      And your comments about continuing to grow and helping others. This allows you to live a purposeful and enriched life; gives life some meaning. Kind of ‘why am I here’ type stuff.

      Hope you have been well and have a great weekend.

      • Hey Bill,

        Not a problem mate. I had forgotten that commenting is actually fun. Will have to take up the ritual once again.

        You’ve summed up my comment pretty good. Why am I here is not a question we should ask, but one we should answer through what we do and what we are.

        It’s going pretty good on my end. Starting to gather some momentum ya know.

        Have a great weekend yourself!

  10. Hi Nancy!
    Wow, way to really tackle the big stuff right away, huh? I really like your take on it and it’s a bit similar to mine.
    For me, I see it as a wonderful, bumpy journey that we sometimes over-complicate by making it too serious or giving in to the wrong things for us instead of what’s best for us. I had a conversation just today with a friend of mine. We are both strong women, with kids and who work. We are in the minority here in our little town and sometimes that means we’re out of step or, if we want to be “in” we must conform or act a certain way or take crap off folks who don’t really matter. We choose not to do that. We choose to surround ourselves with people who really matter and recognize that at the end of the day, each and every day, we need to be around people that enrich our lives and make us happy with the time we have here. Is it one big party? No. But, it’s my party and I’m going to do the best I can to make sure we all enjoy it!
    Thanks for making me think, Nancy!

    • Hi Erica,

      Thank you for such a great comment. I really do agree life is what we make it. I try to surround myself with people that will build me up rather than tear me down. I would rather be with someone who makes me smile more than cry.

      Is life perfect? No way. But you know something? I left an abusive marriage and have a better life now. It is not perfect, but it is mine.

      Surrounding yourself with people that matter – awesome advice Erica.

    • Strong as in you can bench press more than the other women?……………:)

      I like your life analogy and will take it a step further and relate it to sports. If you play golf and go out and play 18 holes, I can assure you every shot will not be perfect. Some days you have more good shots than bad shots. However, you are dealing with different scenarios on every single shot; some good and some not so good. It’s just like life, and how you handle the different challenges is like handling the different challenges on the golf course. You have to take what is dealt and move on from there, right.

      Thanks for coming by to see Nancy, hope you have a great weekend.

  11. I leave it to Vonnegut, who had Kilgore Trout walk into a men’s room stall in “Breakfast of Champions”, only to find written on the wall:

    What is the purpose of life?

    Trout did not have a pen, but if he did, he would have written:

    To be
    the eyes
    and ears
    and conscience
    of the Creator of the Universe,
    you fool.

  12. “What if the meaning of life is to be present in this very moment?”
    Nancy, you hit the nail on the head with this one! I often find myself doing a task while thinking of my next five moves. Then I had my son. I realized that I didn’t want to miss a moment with him. My business keeps me busy, but when I’m spending time with him I really try to live in the moment. Instead of thinking of e-mails I haven’t yet answered or the dishes that need to be done, I enjoy the feel of him lying in my arms. I look into his eyes and realize that he won’t be this small forever. I won’t be his whole world forever–and he won’t want to lay with me like this forever. I want to burn these images into my head so that I remember these moments. They are what truly make up my life.

    • I relate so much to your comment. I feel the same way about time with my son. Enjoy those moments – they are gone in the blink of an eye, but at the end of the day that is what makes life worth living.

    • With the children, you do want to hold onto the moment because it seems they grow in the blink of an eye. I was fortunate being in a sales position I’ve always had totally flexibility with my time. I was at every school and sporting event and really treasure those memories and being able to do that. I feel like I was a ‘present’ dad and did not let business or other commitments take too much time away from my family.

      Good to see you Alicia and thanks so much for stopping in to see Nancy. Hope you have a great weekend.

  13. Well that’s a topic I love Nancy.

    I have learned to live in the present moment and have been joyously doing it now for about the past two years. Have also learned that life is so precious and we need to be living every moment to the fullest. I so agree with you in all that you shared and happy to meet you here on Bill’s blog.


    • Hey Adrienne, thanks for coming by to say hello to Nancy; I need to get to your place and check out the 2nd part of your LinkedIn article.

      Nancy can come up with some good ones as she got my attention early.

      I hope you have a great weekend and I’ll talk to you soon.

  14. Nancy,

    Awesome! As humans we are always searching and searching and rarely look right here. If you love yourself and be YOUR best, all the rest should fall into place.

    Really, there is no meaning to life. It is simply YOUR meaning to life. It’s all relative. Mine is to be simple and love who deserves it. Respect. Have fun. And let go every so often.

    And, yes, we can get angry too. If I don’t, I wouldn’t know what it is to be happy.

    Great post. And thanks Bill for having Nancy write here.


    • Hi Allie,

      Isn’t that the funny part? So many times we look outside ourselves for something that was inside us the entire time.

      If we don’t feel anger, or sadness we won’t recognize happiness or love. Life is all of those things.

      Let go – that is always a good one. Mine is Let go or be dragged.

      Glad you enjoyed the post – Bill has been a very good host


      • I think we have a tendency to look outside because it is through others in how we judge and evaluate ourselves; and that is not good to do. You need to be confident and comfortable in your own skin and let the chips fall where they may.

        Everybody needs to let go every once in awhile, huh. Let’s see if Allie has any #blogher11 stories she might want to share………….:).

    • I do love myself; I would marry me………………not really, what a load…………:).

      That was pretty prophetic ma’am ‘it is simply YOUR meaning to life’. I can follow your mantra and the only thing I would add is to appreciate what you do have and don’t always want for more or what someone else has.

      I do appreciate you taking the time to stop by and say hi to Ms Nancy. I’ve got a couple of GP’s in waiting, but are you about ready for yours?

      • I would totally date me! Marry me? Well…if I can run off to Vegas then no doubt about it!

        I will have you over at my “house sometime next month. I need to look at the calendar and just pick a date to do ti. 🙂

  15. Hi Nancy,

    To me, the meaning of life is simple. The meaning of life is to be happy. That’s the easy answer. But, if you analyze it, it might include things like helping everyone around you to be happy as well (because you’re not happy if your family is not happy), and making the world a better place (because you won’t be happy if you’re not satisfied with the world around you) etc..

    But, being happy is what it’s all about, at least for me 🙂


    • No, you are not happy if mama (the wife) is not happy……….trust me…………:).

      The only thing I would add is be happy and have a puppy; now how can that not make you happy.

      Do you think some people are inherently happy or not happy or is it life circumstances? I am happy by nature; the only time I recall being difficult was in the Army because there was just too much BS going on.

      Good to see you; sorry you had ‘post’ issues yesterday.

    • HI Jens,

      That reminds me of that saying “Happy wife, happy life” and you are right, if those around you are not happy, it is not so easy to be happy yourself.


  16. If only there was one easy answer to that question, then the whole meaning would have been so much more simpler. I don’t know about meaning, but I think life has a purpose and maybe fulfilling that purpose gives meaning to life in whole.

    As a kid, my granddad once told me, it’s like a cricket game you are playing (Yes, we Indians are crazy about cricket) but not against anyone, just street games with neighbor kids. These neighbor kids, though your almost-best friends, are bowling at you, you have have to use that bat to hit back. If you know where that crazy spinning life events are coming from and what you are supposed to do, you might hit yourself a boundary and score like crazy. But you get scared, don’t know what to do, don’t even try to figure out and then your out!

    Maybe just figuring out life and being happy through the journey is meaningful. Sometimes I might be crazy and rude and loud and noisy, but I am just trying to figure out what the whole thing is all about! Maybe trying to find the meaning to this crazy thing called life.

    Lovely to see you over at Bill’s! These guest posts are just getting better and better!

  17. I think the MEANING of Life varies for the individual, what life means to me maybe very different than what it means to you.

    What concerns me is your confession with an obsession for perfection. Part is attributed to your neurological make up, but I believe with consciousness it can be understood. I suggest Eckhart Tolle’s ” A New Earth” if you haven’t read it already.

    • It does vary by individual and will have a different, unique meaning for each one of us. I think it boils down to what makes us happy and what do we appreciate the most. Also, if you can be happy with yourself and not want for much it will be much easier to find ‘your’ meaning of life, don’t you think?

      • I also think that whatever makes an individual happy as they search for “the meaning of life” is what matters most.

  18. I think that the search for meaning in life must be a spiritual quest. Secular life tends to elevate selfish, materialistic pursuits that bring no real satisfaction. As Jesus said in the Sermon On The Mount, “Happy are those conscious of their spiritual needs . . .”

    • If it helps you being happy with who you are and what you have, and not want for much, then it is a good place to be. It allows you to live a much more fulfilled life.

      Thanks for weighing in on this.

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