Day 967: The meaning of life

Yesterday evening, after we’d sat down to dinner, I asked my son Aaron, “What would you like to talk about?” He replied, “The meaning of life.”

I thought for a moment (because that topic deserves careful consideration) and quoted something my late mother would often say:

Life is what you make it.

When that got no response from Aaron, I tried again, with something closer at hand: “Maybe Michael’s mashed potatoes explain the meaning of life.”

That photo of my boyfriend Michael’s mashed potatoes (taken when the meal was over) means I was too busy eating them — and thinking  about the meaning of life —  to capture those delicious potatoes on my dinner plate.

What do you think? If asked about the meaning of life over dinner (or anywhere else) by a 17-year old, how might you respond? Would your opening gambit include something you heard growing up, something close at hand, or something else?

Might any of my other recent photos provide useful talking points about the meaning of life?



Allow me to explain the meaning of the life shown in those last four photos. On my first day back at work, yesterday, a co-worker I like very much showed me pictures of the recent  16th birthday party of her sister’s cat, Simba, who was diagnosed with a fatal disease four years ago. To me, Simba looks quite healthy and happy, partaking of some ice cream birthday cake.

That reminds me!   Last night, Michael finished his own birthday ice cream cake, pictured in its entirety here:

I see how that photo — taken on Michael’s birthday, August 21 — includes the word “trust.” I trust that word might come up in some discussions about the meaning of life.

If you were writing a blog post about the meaning of life, what music would you include?

I have to choose something meaningful  from Monty Pythons’s The Meaning of Life.

If “The Galaxy Song” doesn’t provide enough meaning of life, here’s a more familiar song from a different Monty Python movie. 

Meaningful thanks to my late mother, my son Aaron, my boyfriend Michael, Monty Python, Michael’s mashed potatoes, my co-workers, Simba, survivors everywhere, creatures who enjoy ice cream birthday cakes, and every other person, animal, place, and thing that helped me make meaning in today’s post. Special thanks to you — of course! — for any meaning you are making in your life, here and now.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , | 48 Comments

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48 thoughts on “Day 967: The meaning of life

  1.   Original Message   From: The Year(s) of Living Non-JudgmentallySent: Tuesday, 25 August 2015 12:12 PMTo: charlesbarca2009@yahoo.comReply To: The Year(s) of Living Non-JudgmentallySubject: [New post] Day 967: The meaning of life

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    Ann Koplow posted: “Yesterday evening, after we’d sat down to dinner, I asked my son Aaron, “What would you like to talk about?” He replied, “The meaning of life.”

    I thought for a moment (because that topic deserves careful consideration) and quoted something my late mother”

  2. That video has to be one of the greatest ever comic scenes, with no sense of blasphemy

  3. Hmmm!? What is the meaning of life? I suppose it doesn’t really have any meaning other than to ensure the human race continues. Or it could be, the meaning of life is whatever one makes it to be?
    Here is a song that might have an answer, or maybe not.

    • That song had a lot of meaning for me, SD. Even though I haven’t heard it in decades, I remembered all the meaningful words. And it adds to the meaning, for me, that “Punky’s Dilemma” and the photo of mashed potatoes share a Kellogg’s reference. I love all the meanings you brought here.

  4. You got me thinking Ann. That’s a big one for the mooring. I hope to figure out by dinner time. I think I’ll have some mashed potatoes and see what happens!

  5. Janet H

    Well, I’m gonna go there…. The meaning of life, the universe and everything is 42.

  6. I might have looked at Aaron and said, “You, too, huh? Welcome to the club.”

    Or: “If you ever figure it out, please call me right away!”

    Really, Ann, your mom’s answer was as good as any. The slippery slopes change our viewpoints constantly, don’t they? Great philosophers and songwriters have shared their a-ha moments seemingly forever, but I have a feeling even they woke up the next morning and were ready to take a swing at the next big thought.

  7. I like your mother’s explanation as well. Life if what you make it. I know too many people who sit around and wait for something to happen. How sad!

  8. If asked about the meaning of life I would share that life is too large and too complex to have a single meaning, that the only way we could even begin to intuit a meaning would be to look at life in its totality, but even if we could do that we only have a very small sample–a single planet in a single arm of a single galaxy of a very large universe. That’s a more prosaic way of putting what Eric Idle already said.
    With that in mind I feel strangely compelled to point out that “The Galaxy Song” is from Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life while “Always Look On The Bright Side of Life” is from Monty Python’s Life of Brian. The latter song is earlier but is also the one Eric Idle regularly sings at public appearances as well as at Graham Chapman’s funeral, and which he also included in his musical “Spamalot”.There may be some meaning in that.

  9. I would rather hear Aaron’s answer than hazard one of my own.Love to see Aaron, Leonard Cohen, the Dalai Lama and Erma Bombeck on a meaning of life panel.

  10. Thanks to this post I found a great YouTube channel, it’s called “The School of Life”. They are all videos about philosophy, and amazingly, I found one with the title of this post, although one might think that such rhetorical question may be intuitively or individually approached, this video is pretty interesting, IMHO::

    • Thank you, so much, for posting this video, which held deep meaning for me, Maria. Communication, understanding, and service — all embodied in your sharing of this with us.

      • Ann, this YouTube channel is simply amazing; it’s British and its whole purpose is to focus on ’emotional intelligence’ and all the philosophers and themes that contributed to this concept. Thanks to your post title, I discovered it.

      • Isn’t it amazing how meaning can begat meaning?

      • Yes, the part about meaning is really interesting, isn’t it? It makes me think of Viktor Frankl also. Well, you provided Aaron with all these three concepts with that trip to Scotland Ann: communication, understanding and service. This video was interesting, because I wasn’t expecting the part about service.

      • I wasn’t expecting those three things, Maria, but they were instantly understandable and meaningful.

      • I know what you mean, I wasn’t expecting any of those at all neither.

  11. Such a complex question, having been asked for an eternity. I’d like to think there is something about mashed potatoes, or a great cheeseburger. ☺

    Always a fan of the Monty Python approach. Great inclusion here. 💕

  12. Maureen

    PS. Absolutely loved both Monty Python clips. What a talented bunch. The Life of Brian one is pure genius, and I understand that better and better as I get older.

  13. Such a profound question. One of my favorite quotes is “give to the world the best that you’ve got, and the best will come back to you” maybe that is the meaning of life. Make your time count. Be there for others.

  14. Ann,
    I believe our lives are a gift from God. And our gift to Him is in how we live them. Each of us has a specific purpose. When we fulfill it God is pleased. And we will know it in our contentment.
    Aaron need only look to you to see life’s meaning. From what I know of trials, you’ve carried your cross well.

  15. The meaning of our life only has meaning as we live it. Each of us has a special journey to make. At the end of it there will still be a lot of unanswered questions as to the why and what.

  16. Pingback: Day 1089: The Meaning of Life | The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally

  17. Pingback: Day 2044: Meaningful | The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally

  18. Pingback: Day 2302: What was that all about? | The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally

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