When I read this question, my first thought was “well, I guess it all depends on who you ask!”. Every mind is a whole different world.
The meaning of life to me is the energy that moves me each day, not just to go on for 24 hours, but to live in such a way that every day counts. This is the reason why being alive is a gift that I treasure. In my opinion, the intention and motivation that feeds that energy changes all the time, as we grow and experience new situations. In other words, what is really meaningful to me right now may not be so meaningful in the future or may be even more so.
When I was a little child, what I treasured the most was playing with my best friend or enjoying time with my family during the weekends. Nothing else was as important – not even going to school and not even watching TV – I wanted to be with those I loved. At age 9 my best friend and her family moved to a different city to live. That was my first lesson on letting go. She and I were like sisters and without asking me or her, her parents decided to move and take her with them. In my sadness I thought that that was very unfair, I had been detached from the physical presence of somebody I loved dearly. Fortunately, we remain friends even now, after 30 years of being apart. Not as close, but good friends.
That separation was probably one of the best gifts life has given me: the opportunity to understand that everything changes, that nothing lasts forever and that the people we love may not be there all the time. At around the same age, I lost a dear uncle and saw death in the suffering of my relatives for the first time in my life. That made me realize that life ends unexpectedly and that we should manifest our love to those we care for whenever we can, because later it can be too late.
The meaning of my life has changed for me along the years. When I was in elementary school I decided that when I grew up I was going to become a medical doctor and a researcher to help relieve the suffering of others. I graduated from medicine school and became a Pediatrician because I wanted to help children. Then I met my husband, fell in love, got married and had three beautiful children. That changed my plans in the blink of an eye.
Of all the different phases of my life, becoming a mother has been the most striking event when it comes to what gives meaning to my daily living. Those three souls make me want to be a better person. They impulse me each day to fight for my dream of making this world a better place to live in. But also, I have a new understanding of how this can be done. I no longer dream to be the best pediatrician or the best researcher. I now understand that any change I could possibly generate outside of me has to start within me.
In summary, as of today, the meaning of life to me is to work everyday to be a happier and healthier person, for that is the only way I can be a better wife, mother, friend or health professional. I remind myself constantly to enjoy every moment to its fullest, being appreciative and thankful for all the blessings present in my life. My motor is to lead by example, showing my children to fight for their dreams, to take care of themselves but also to be conscious of the people around them, for life is even more beautiful when we can share our time with others. Living in a way that if I should die today, I would go in peace and without regrets is what I would call living a meaningful life.
~Claudia Vega, MD, M.S. is a Pediatrician, Nutritionist and Mindfulness Based Psychotherapist. She works with families and individuals helping them achieve attitudinal and behavioral changes that allow them to have healthier lifestyles. She has trained in the Mindful Eating Conscious Living program and is a qualified MBSR teacher by the UCSD. She serves on the Board of The Center for Mindful Eating. She founded Nutrintegra, a Mindfulness and Wellness Center, located in Mazatlan, Mexico. She leads Mindfulness and Mindful Eating workshops for children, teenagers, adults and parents. She hosts a radio show about Mindful Living.
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