Finding the real meaning of life

By Joel P. Longares

Have you even been reminded by a family member, friend or any acquaintance that life is short and we have to live the most of it? I guess, in our lifetime every one of us must have been reminded of this line and yet, only a few can really say they have lived life to the fullest.

Yes, understanding and accepting the real meaning of life is among the hardest things to attain, although it is the easiest one to find. Indeed, we create our own lives and whether we are able to live it to the fullest or not, depend on how we look and value ourselves.

Indeed, everyone wants to live a better life, if not the best. But this ideal perception of life would vary depending on our values on work, career, family, material things and social standing among others.  Thus, a rich businessman whose vision of a successful business is to expand, works hard for it. This is no different from an impoverished family’s wish to have food on the table, they must also work hard for it. This is where I would like to share my wisdom on the importance of being output oriented. After all, the meaning of life for many of us is living it comfortably materially, emotionally and socially.

Working our way to success

Success has always been associated to a life of fulfilment. But again, this would depend on how we look at life.  While others may equate their meaning of a successful life with material riches and career, some may find meaning in their lives with good relationships with the families, co-workers and friends. But no matter how the meaning of life is perceived by us, we need to work hard for it to be able to attain it. In short, we must sow the seeds to be able to reap its harvest. And if we complement it with prayers and strong faith, we have the formula for success that will lead us to the path of understanding the meaning of life.

I remember my days in Tondo. Manila when I would regularly drop by the Don Bosco Church on my way to work to ask the Lord for guidance in trying to find the real meaning of life. I was 21 years old then and working at the port area fixing sonar radars of sea vessels.

Having been raised by poor parents in Capiz and after finishing a degree in Electronics as a working student, I still had many unanswered questions about life in my mind. I was already helping my family in the province then, but the question on how would life be more meaningful  if I am able to help more people, kept nagging me.

Thus, I decided to pursue my luck in Saudi Arabia as an Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) and later in the United States of America where I started my business in “balikbayan” box cargo forwarding. And during all these years I really worked hard, mindless of the number of hours I spent each day. Today, I have partly found the real meaning of life, as we receive countless thanks from people we have personally touched.

Emptiness amidst wealth

I have seen and encountered a lot of rich people who, despite their wealth still find their lives empty. On the other hand, I have also encountered people who live moderate lives, and yet they find themselves happy and reconciled with the essence of life.

Yes, finding the real meaning of life depends on how we look at our being and how we see the intricate web of values, norms and desires among others that comprise our existence.

That is why, it would be best for us to do some soul-searching, if only to find out how we value money, how we see and understand the lives of the people around us and how we can sell ourselves to other people to make them comfortable with us to enable us to touch their lives.

Life in the government service

In some government agencies, you can find silent millionaires or even billionaires who managed to enrich themselves out of their positions. These are the corrupt government officials who exploit their positions for money.  And yet, despite their deep pockets, most, if not all of them, are not able to fully enjoy their wealth and reconcile themselves with the essence of life. Try looking at them directly at their eyes and many of them will avoid an eye-to-eye contact.

Yes, wealth earned through questionable means carry with it an extra load of guilt.  I believe in the law of karma, and whatever good things we do in life comes back to us  a hundred folds of blessings. In like manner all the bad things we do in life will likewise come back to us in the form of bad karma.

Life is indeed, short. But the essence of life is not measured in terms of years of existence, but it is measured on how we spend it each day. This brings us back to finding the answers to questions like, did we enjoy every day of our life, did we find fulfilment in everything we did while on this earth and were we able to touch the lives of other people?

Finding the real meaning of life shall, indeed, make every minute of our existence worth the while. After all, the essence of life is what we make of it and not what it makes of us.