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In response to my colleague’s recent writing on the meaning of life, I felt I should add my take on certain aspects as well. It is widely known within my small circle of friends, family, and acquaintances that the previous 2.5 years of my life could be characterized as tumultuous, and blessed. While this partially speaks to my friend’s idea that we’re always clawing our way through life, I also find that sometimes good things happen to us that we did not strive for, plan for, etc. Hence, my friend brought up the age-old (well, not really) question: is life like a box of chocolates? Do you ever know what you’re going to get?

So I sit here in front of my computer monitor, that glorious portal to this thing called the Internet, and I read my friend’s words questioning the essence of human existence. And many different things come to my mind, sometimes in waves, then singularly. Questions of faith and religion. Thoughts on politics and government. Ideas about humanity, mortality, adventure. Hope. Joy.

Joy. Is that what Archon was referring to when he mentioned ‘the first kiss?’ Incidentally, I have few memories of first kisses. Several stand out, but really, some did not warrant permanent fixture in my thoughts. I know they happened, but beyond that, I simply have no recollection of those actual moments. Certainly it is a degree of meaning that he was referring to. But Joy? Truly, those meaningful kisses fill one with Joy, do they not? And need it be the first kiss that provides that sense or wonder and helplessness? If that first kiss is later surpassed, does it no longer form the basis of judgment for future kisses? Or does the more excellent kiss take on that role? Does the Joy we feel at that moment in time really have a lasting effect on life?

Six months ago my thoughts were focused on the strangest things: intangible, abstract ideas. Like Joy and Hope. How does one define an emotion, a state of mind? Fortunately, I was not attempting to define them. Instead, I had reflected on the roles they had played during my life. A dear friend had hurt me, and another had asked me what it was I valued most. I’ve always struggled with that question, because I am always torn between Hope and Joy.

So, my mind twisting and turning in deliberation, I dwelled on the impact of Joy on my life, and the way Hope always seemed present in my thoughts. Which leads me to Archon’s question of Destiny: what good would Hope be in a world were your choices were already made for you? Could you really still feel Joy from that first kiss, knowing that it wasn’t a result of your actions and emotions? Questions that I doubt anyone could answer.

Destiny is always tied into religion in this type of discussion. And why not? If things are pre-ordained, they must have been preordained by somebody, right? Or are they actually, truly, laid out in the stars? While this is most definitely a topic for another discussion, I feel it’s important to point out how the most simplistic, yet profound moments and events can lead to that discussion. How a kiss can ultimately make one question their life, and whether or not there is such a thing as Destiny.

The meaning of life? Easy… in my own interpretation, we’re merely hoping to experience moments of joy. Everything else is a means to that end. And of course, what people Hope for, and what things cause them Joy, are as varied as humanity itself. The meaning of one’s life, my friend, is defined by each individual living that life.

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