The Meaning of Life

Story and photos by Gabrielle L. Wheeler

Of late, I have done an immense amount of soul searching. I feel like I am at a cross roads of sorts in my life right now, change is upon me and more change is yet to come though I don’t know to what extent. Many people fear change. I, however, embrace it. Trying new things and meeting new people adds dimension to life. Fix me up with a new challenge to tackle and I am content.

Change is sometimes scary because we are unsure at the beginning. For me, right now, I feel a voice in my heart telling me that something has to change – that something is changing. I don’t necessarily know why or how; that is definitely something that could make a person uneasy. As a result, I have just been trying to listen to what that voice is telling me. Of all the profound things I could possibly hear, I hear whispers about what the meaning of life is. What is my meaning? And what gives meaning to my life?

What gives life meaning is different for every person, but for all of us, it comes down to the little things. Sure, there are big events such as weddings and vacations, but when the monotony of every day life returns, it comes down to finding meaning in the minuscule to make it to the next big thing.

What you do in your 40-hour work week of course adds or subtracts to the meaning of your life. But what you do with your remaining time adds bucket-loads as well. A sense of place helps too. Here are a few autumn-time things that I’ve realized really give meaning to my life:

  1. Coaching or leading my kids in their extracurricular activities, such as my son’s U7 soccer team and my daughter’s Girl Scout troop.
  2. Hiking the trails across the region and identifying fallen leaves with my daughter.
  3. Cooking up the harvest of the season from local farm stands.
  4. U-pick pumpkin patches are always a good time with little kids (or the young at heart).
  5. The golden aura of autumn as I pull into my driveway.
  6. Spiders, caterpillars, and the occasional snake I find while raking the yard.

I could go on and on. The meaning of life can be found in each and every moment. It is in all the small things. Where my road will go, I have yet to see, but I’m sure it will be down some winding Finger Lakes back road somewhere.

Gabrielle Wheeler is a freelance writer from the heart of the Finger Lakes Region. On her parenting blog,, she writes about tending to the whole child and parent. She also works in a local health center as an interpreter/patient navigator.

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