My quest for meaning
Last year my husband and I sold our house and most of our possessions to live and travel in our RV. Life and all it’s many questions and complications had begun weighing me down in the years leading up to that point. I’d never so desperately felt the need for change while having no clue what that change was. So we set off on the road in search of answers. Do I need a new town, a new career, a new perspective, a better attitude? Am I wrong to want more out of life? Am I asking questions that can even be answered? I had no clue. All I knew was that the open road and the wilderness was where I was always able to find peace in the past. We hoped to find something, anything, that would make us feel less lost.
My two most pressing questions felt so immense. What is my purpose here on this planet? How do I find meaning in my life? These were questions that were taking up more and more of my attention with every passing day. Yet, with every passing day I felt further from any sense of understanding.
One day, while sitting atop a giant granite boulder in the Arizona wilderness, I found some clarity.
A loner by nature, I’ve always retreated to the wilderness for peace, contentedness and happiness. Aside from my husband, I’ve never sought these things in others. In all honesty, I prefer to not need anything from anybody. I put independence on a pedestal and see vulnerability and the need for others as a weakness. But as I sat on that rock staring up at the sky, deeply craving meaning in my life, a fascinating revelation came over me.
I may need nature but nature does not need me back. I always thought nature could provide the meaning I needed but how could it when I meant nothing to it? From that revelation, I began to see that meaning can only be found in human to human relationships. For most of my life, I’ve kept the people in my life at arm’s length, making sure I don’t need them too much and they don’t need me. It was no wonder I’d begun to feel that my life lacked meaning and significance. And here I was, out in the middle of nowhere, doing nothing but distancing myself further from any human to human contact.
I love this planet and all the wild, untamed corners of the world for so many reasons. But the one thing I needed most, nature could not provide. I needed community. People to laugh with, confide in and relate to. People that needed me and enjoyed my company and could count on me. All things, for whatever reason, I’ve been scared of and have avoided for most of my life.
My entire life perspective has shifted since sitting on that rock in Arizona. Six months ago I thought I could wander the little known highways of America for the rest of my life and be content. But now I know that’s not the answer. Instead my husband and I finally said yes to an opportunity that had presented itself a year prior. One that involved a great job within a tight knit community. A year ago, the idea of community scared us both. Now I know, it’s exactly what we need. We are now one month in to this decision. A decision that has required us to let our guards down in hopes of becoming a part of something. Almost immediately, friendships have begun to blossom and although I’m feeling vulnerable I feel like I’m right where I need to be.
VULNERABILITY IS NOT THE WEAKNESS I ONCE THOUGHT IT WAS. THROUGH HONESTY AND VULNERABILITY WE’RE ABLE TO FORM TRUE AND MEANINGFUL CONNECTIONS WITH LIKE-MINDED PEOPLE.
We should never underestimate the power we have to bring others joy, peace, comfort, security and so much more. That ability is where we find meaning in our life…and meaning something to someone else as well as feeling needed gives us purpose. Quite possibly the greatest lesson I’ve learned so far in life.
Hello, I'm Michele
While taking pictures is what I do for a living, this website is not about photography or making money. It’s about my perpetual pursuit of a life well-lived and my desire for people to live with less stress and more joy. This website is not about HOW TO achieve XYX, it’s about HOW I achieve XYZ (along with the myriad of thought processes that get me there). If it motivates you too to be better, than I’m really glad you’re here. I believe the world would be a better place if we all spent more time bettering ourselves rather than judging others.
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