The following blogpost was a topic that I originally wanted to explore in more detail throughout a book I was going to write (and maybe I will someday). However, the theme of meaning has been popping into my head quite a bit lately and I decided that now was a good time to jot down a few thoughts on the subject. I began writing this piece with little to no idea on the "why" of meaning, just that it exists. But as wrote about it late into the night, I stumbled upon an epiphany or two.
These words are for anyone who has ever had something mean a great deal to them. So much so, that it feels as if no one else in the entire world could ever have the capacity to fully understand.
What has meaning to you? It can be anything really.
It could be a place. A song. A movie. A word. An activity. A person. An experience.
Each of us has something.
So why then can one thing mean so much to one person while at the same time mean nothing to someone else?
If you're looking for this post to answer that question, you're going to be disappointed. I don't intend to answer it, but I do want to discuss, reflect upon, and celebrate the phenomenon of "meaning". Specifically, its place in our lives and why we appreciate it so dearly.
One of my favorite things as of late is hearing others talk about how much something means to them. I've noticed it happen a handful of times over the past few weeks and the experience is usually the same. They tell me about something they find significance in. I then think to myself, "that's a strange thing to care so much about". In short, I don't understand.
But then something funny happens, they explain why. And the more I listen, the more I get it.
Their explanation always has to do with something personal.
I've been on the other end of those conversations too. There's an excitement to when I've tried to share a song, movie, or even a personal story with someone. Unfortunately, nine times out of ten, it's met with little to no fanfare. Just a generic "cool", "that's awesome", or the dreaded blank stare. Immediately, excitement turns into disappointment and the following thought pops into my head:
"Why don't they see what I see?"
I think there's a reason for it.
The things that mean a lot to you, myself, and everyone else in the world aren't treasured "just because". Everything that means something to someone is - most of the time - tied to what we go through. They are associated with our longings, our experiences, our loves.
There are songs that I find significance in because the feelings they communicate relate to the feelings I've felt throughout my life.
There are movies that mean a great deal to me because I identify with their themes and what the characters go through.
There are places I love because they bring to mind memories that have shaped me and led me to where I am today.
Maybe I did answer the question above after all.
I don't always understand why certain things mean so much to some - in fact, I find a lot of things enjoyed or found meaningful by others to be baffling - but I do understand what it's like for something to have an incredible amount of significance to me.
And when someone finds importance in something - even if I myself don't - I am happy for them.
I hope you are as well.