A Grassroots Approach to Discovering Meaning in Your Life
I’m a voyeur.
I love catching a glimpse into other people’s lives. Who doesn’t? It’s why reality TV and Lindsay Lohan’s exploits are so popular. For the next 4 hours I’ll have plenty of time to gander — I’m on a bus from Bangkok to Trat, Thailand (again). Another visa run to Cambodia – one of the downsides to the 30-day visa Thailand gives to those flying in (a paltry 15-day if you’re an over-lander).
I’m staring over the shoulder of a thirty-something gent who’s enraptured in his magazine. Carefully combing every article. Digesting every written morsel. He revels in the turn of each page, allowing it to take him away to a place far happier than this crowded highway.
Thumbing over the subject of the glossy photo spread, he’s found his very own angel in a centrefold. In his world, there are no other passengers — just him, and his beloved bi-weekly.
The magazine is about peat moss.
You know – comes from the earth, favoured by gardeners, goes by the can’t-say-it-without-thinking-something-dirty moniker “sphagnum”. Yeah, that stuff.
Finding Passion in Peat.
I’m not sure of the name of the magazine — it being in Thai and all. This Week in Peat? Pioneer Peat? For Peat’s Sake? For the Love of Peat? I don’t know. That’s immaterial anyway. What’s noteworthy is that he’s found his passion. In peat of all things.
There’s a glee in his face – like in years past when kids on my block got their hands on the Sears Christmas catalogue. Instead of Mickey Mouse, it’s sticky moss. Instead of Cabbage Patch Kids, it’s, well, just cabbage patches. It excites him, and that’s what matters.
Finding Life Meaning in Moss.
He’s one of the lucky ones. He’s found passion in his work. At least I believe it’s his work. He could be a weekend moss enthusiast, but that’s not likely. I can tell he’s almost ready to shout the merits of peat from the rooftops – “We’re here! We’re there! We’re fibrous!”
I’m one of the lucky ones too. I believe I have found my life meaning. Or at least I am finding that I have a passion –travel. I can spend all day looking at maps or scouring flights to Delhi or just sitting on a bus like I am right now. But can I make a living at it?
I’m betting I can.
So how do you find your life meaning? Your own personal peat moss?
It’s different for everyone, but it all starts with listening.
Listen to that inner voice.
I knew that the job I was doing wasn’t fulfilling me. I loved corporate training – I loved getting to meet so many new people, and I loved watching them transform over the course of a few weeks. But I had been doing it for far too long. The passion just wasn’t there anymore. I wanted something to give me that feeling again. The voice told me to move on.
Listen to the alarm clock.
Mornings were a dread-filled affair. I was snooze-buttoning my life away. Every pound of that button was a punch to what my life had become. “Just one more minute,” I would say. “Just. One. More. Minute.”
Now I usually get up before the alarm, and I can’t wait for my day to start. Sickening isn’t it?
Listen to what you already say.
If you find yourself saying things like “I hate Mondays,” or “I can wait for this week to be over”, you know something’s amiss. You shouldn’t be wishing your life away. And I was doing just that.
Listen to what already excites you.
For most, what excites us most is not our work, it’s what we do outside our 9 to 5. It’s probably a hobby, pastime, or a cause we are involved in. Is there a way you CAN make it your work?
Listen to your friends.
They know you better than anyone. They probably know too much actually. And they probably have already told what you should be doing. You just weren’t listening.
All you have to do is listen. Deep down you already know what you should be doing. It’s only a matter of time before it erupts to the surface.
If that fellow on the bus can find excitement in peat moss, surely there is something in your life you can get excited about. Finding your life meaning can be a scary proposition. But also the best thing you can do with, well, your life.
The question is, are you ready for it?