The Meaning of Life v.1.1

When I started to think about this article I realized this thought comes only at a certain point in life. Here are some indicators:​


  1. When you start to age and it becomes more difficult to just simply get out of bed each the morning.
  2. When you go to too many funerals way too often.
  3. When you look around and all the people you started with in the business have almost all retired.
  4. You begin to look forward to that afternoon nap.
  5. You buy shoes that “fit good” rather than ‘look good.”
  6. All your clothes are a “relaxed fit” style.
  7. You quit caring if people don’t like your opinions and views of life.
  8. You wish you had your flip phone back.
  9. You have no clue what the Game of Thrones is and you don’t care.
  10. You ache and hurt all the time but don’t know why.

I am sure most of us in the “Over 50” category can relate to many of these. These are what my father used to talk about a lot and I was always wondering what he meant. Now I know!

What Does Your Life Really Mean?

There are so many views and perspectives on life. You can google almost everything on the internet now. Here are some thoughts I came across:

Simon Sinek, the author, says that life is all about doing something for others. The Marines say it is inspiring others to do good. Admiral William McCraven of the Navy said you must make your bed everyday as it is the first of many tasks you should do right. Socrates said the unexamined life is not worth living. Aristotle said life was about contemplation and learning. Pablo Picasso, the painter, said that the meaning of life is to find your gift and the purpose of life is to give it away. It seems everyone has an opinion on what life is about to them.

Go to your local library or bookstore. There are shelves of books out there on management, leadership and life. You can spend weeks reading books, articles and beliefs on this topic.

Where Does That Put You and Me?

What are we supposed to use to measure our lives and what matters to us?

In an article, I found this this summary:

What is the meaning of life? Like a shadow, this question follows us through our lives, even if we never turn around to see it. We all want to feel like our lives count for something. We want to know that all this was not just a cosmic accident.

The good news is that finding a sense of purpose is possible at any age. But, first, we need to reword the question. “What Is the Meaning of My Life?” is really three questions.

Adding the word “my” to “What is the meaning of (my) life?” simplifies the problem, but, it doesn’t solve it. At most, putting the focus on ourselves gives us a chance to answer the question. To find our purpose in life, we need to dig below the surface and ask ourselves even more specific questions. We need to understand our values, talents and potential. We need to ask ourselves three questions:

  1. What is important to me?
  2. What am I truly good at?
  3. What is my potential?

Source: Margaret Manning of

Ms. Manning goes on to say that the only question you can answer is what is the meaning of my life? You cannot answer that for everyone else. She says it will not come as a bolt of lightning from the sky, but bits and pieces will be unveiled over time. There seems to be a lot of truth in that view.

I will close by saying that happiness and meaning is a very difficult thing to define. It is one that you search for your whole life and you probably walked right past it more than once in your life. Take the time to sit on the porch of life with a glass of cold sweet tea and a good dog. Watch the sunset and smile. Enjoy where you are right now and you may just find out the true meaning of life is staring you in the face. Being happy with your self and your life allows you to welcome others into your world and find that true happiness we all seek.

Stay safe out there.

Ken Farmer is Section Chief, Leadership and Fire Risk Reduction at the National Fire Academy, United States Fire Administration in Maryland. Email him at

Contact Us

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.