This I Believe

Valerio - Portland, Oregon
Entered on October 9, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: purpose

When I Was Young

Growing up, my father and I used to travel all over the world. We’d stand and watch the sun set past midnight on the edge of the Gobi desert. Or we’d be watching sunsets outside our huts in the Philippines. But wherever my father and I went, we shared experiences people can only dream of.

Then there’s people in the United States, those who continuously question the meaning of their lives. Those who are not able to function, due to their own depression. The meaning of life. Their purpose. Once they figure this out, they fill their lives in with futile acts because every spare minute is a minute wasted. They thrive on their talents until they are successful. Then they reach midlife crisis, then ask themselves the meaning or purpose of their lives all over again.

I believe that there is no universal meaning of life. I believe we give our own lives their own meanings because the actions we choose to take, depending on the decisions presented to us, are what shape who we are. Thus, I am glad that my father (no matter how much I detested traveling as a kid) took me to over 26 countries and eventually forced me to learn five languages fluently. I am grateful that he forced me to read difficult books when I was young, just so I could advance further and faster than others in the future.

I believe that it is not important to know the meaning of our lives. In the end, the only question I will ask myself is whether I lived my life to the fullest. And that does not mean, ‘Have I filled up every second of my life with something important to do?’ Am I content with the way I lived my life? And if I can answer, ‘Yes’, then I will die content.

The balance between success and happiness is a hard one. But sacrificing such a balance in its entirety is a novice’s mistake. Sure, all happiness can lead to a great life, but without any success, how far will life take you? And, of course, all work and no play can make anyone unhappy. So where does one draw the line? As he sees fit. But a healthy balance between work and play always works out best.