Saturday, January 26, 2013

The Meaning of My Life

     We all have a desire to understand the meaning of our lives and why we are here on Earth; whether we ponder it occasionally or are on a quest. This month my book group read The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. Gretchen writes about her year long quest to set and follow a series of resolutions to find more happiness, "to change her life without changing it". While I applaud her for fulfilling her quest, I don't agree with her method. Many of her resolutions were about improving her relationships with family, friends and people, while others were about broadening her "self". From my perspective, it often felt forced and unnatural. I found myself asking "why?" many times. After all, it was her life and not mine; I was just a voyeur. However, she helped me think about a few things, like my own "Twelve Commandments". Things I know to be true about living my life. I had never thought about these subconscious principles but they flashed like photographs at different times over the last month. I came up with ten.

  1. No complaining; only solutions.
  2. Perseverance and hard work pay off.
  3. Can't change people; I am the only change agent.
  4. Being good at what I do requires a desire to learn.
  5. Challenge creates nervousness but adrenaline and exhilaration.
  6. Just do it.
  7. I want to do everything but it often creates stress; therefore, I must choose.
  8. The glass is half full.
  9. What you give is what you get.
  10. It's easy to be distracted and hard to remain focused.
    The subject of happiness became a theme this month; not intentionally but I noticed a Diane Rehm podcast of her recent interview with Sonja Lyubomirsky about her book The Myth of Happiness and a January article in The Atlantic entitled "There is More to Life Than Being Happy." This article in particular made me think more critically about The Happiness Project and happiness' role in my life. The article compares and contrasts seeking happiness as an American cultural "meism" to developing meaning and purpose that "transcends and endues" ones lifetime. Meaning enables happiness. 

     I know my purpose - a teacher and a mother. This is why I am present on Earth and which gives my life meaning. I am here to model, guide and facilitate my students and children to discover, question and engage with the natural world, to help them create a relationship with nature and to encourage their stewardship of the environment. This is my passion. This is what sustains me. This is my purpose. This is my happiness.


  1. NIce article, Jennifer. Thinking about the meaning of happiness reminds me of one of my favorite TED talks:
    (recommended by Mark Grovic)

  2. Thanks Lynette! I love TED talks. I will definitely check this one out. Thank you for sharing the link.