The True Meaning of Life | Teen Ink

The True Meaning of Life

July 11, 2019
By Anonymous

Sometimes I feel as if my parents don’t care about me, but they care about my success, if that makes any sense at all. 

For example, my father had never once asked me, “How are you? How was your day? How are your friends? What’s up?” None of that was ever mentioned. Instead, it was all replaced by “How are your grades? Can I check your grades? What’s your GPA now? How did you do on the SAT?” This was what I heard throughout my adolescent upbringing, as well as constant lectures about how studying more is the only way to live a successful life.


But how do we determine success? Well, let’s look at some people who are deemed successful. Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg. What do they have in common, what stakes a claim to their success? 


If we are to be perfectly honest, it is their wealth. 


In our society, a successful person is called that because of their financial status. The more wealthy you are, the more successful you are. But is wealth really the true measure of success? 


Let’s imagine a scenario: A CEO of a powerful corporation goes home to his large beachfront mansion, eats dinner while watching TV, then goes to bed. 


Now let’s imagine another scenario: A delivery man goes home to his 2 bedroom apartment, his two kids run up to him and give him a hug, he eats with his family and talks to them about his day, and finally heads to bed cuddled up next to his wife. 


We would assume that the CEO is more successful than the delivery man, but who truly seems happier with his life? That’s right, the delivery man.

Our society unfortunately only measures success through one’s wealth and social status. But I think the real measure of success should be through happiness. 


Of course, every parent wants their child to be successful, and almost every human wants to be wealthy. We all want lavish lifestyles, and that’s fine. But is that really what life is about? 


People all over the world worship gods, or another type of otherworldly being. Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism,etc. Religion is an important part of the lives of many people. But look at it this way, does any religious text state anything about the significance of wealth and prosperity? I don’t think so. 


I don’t think that whoever created this world, our life, gods or science or whatever it is, did not mean for our lives to be like this. We are born, we study, we get a job, we retire, and we die. Is that truly what life is for? Is that truly what life is about? 


I believe, this is just my opinion, that life is about experiencing things and making meaningful connections in order to become a better human being. 


Religion always talks about selfless beings, such as Jesus or Lord Rama or Allah who used their lives to help the betterment of humanity. Not once did a religious text talk about how wealthy they were, or how prosperous they were. I think this is what we are supposed to do as well. 


Yes, in this world, we all need a job in order to pay the bills and survive, but is that really the main focus? Is our life truly meant for us to slave away at a job for three-quarters of it? I don’t think so. 


Our life is just, life. We shouldn't waste it by constantly focusing on success or wealth. By creating or finding meaningful relationships, helping others, and just simply experiencing things, we can truly live a fulfilling life.


The author's comments:

Shower thoughts. You know when you're in the shower and randomly think of random things? That's where the idea of the piece came from. It was just running through my mind, and I absolutely had to write it down. 


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