What is Life All About?

Yesterday I was fortunate enough to go for a walk along the spectacular Cliff Walk from Dunmore East to Portally Cove here in Co. Waterford.

There is a seat overlooking Portally Cove which has an inscription drawing  on the famous lines from W.H. Davies:

Inscription on Seat at Portally Cove, Co. Waterford

As I sat there, I headed into the complex territory of ‘the meaning of life’ and got to thinking about what are THE most important things in life.

It seems to be fairly straightforward for people who are at the end of their lives and are looking back at what was important but for those of us who feel we probably still have a bit to go, it can become a bit of a tangled web as minor stuff can take on far more significance than it probably should.  I was thinking, for example, that when I’m on my death-bed, I’ll hardly be too concerned about the fact that my laptop is banjaxed and that I’ve mislaid a library book.

I came to the overall conclusion that what matters most is doing our best for humanity. Some people may be in a position to literally change the world while others may have to  operate at less ‘public’ levels.

What do you think, dear friends?

Portally Cove, Co. Waterford.
Portally Cove, Co. Waterford.


Author: socialbridge

I am a sociologist and writer from Ireland. I have worked as a social researcher for 30 years and have had a lifelong passion for writing. My main research interests relate to health care and I love to write both non-fiction and poetry.

23 thoughts on “What is Life All About?”

  1. Sorry it took me so long to reply. I was distracted by the picture of the boat in the water. Life, let’s see. It’s been here a while, now. We know it has been here in one form or another for at least two and a half Billion years before a trace of humanity was noticed. Perhaps earlier. So it could be that for a long time the meaning of life had little to do with Albert Schweitzer’s concept of service to humanity being the better part of it.

    In fact, even after the arrival of hominids, the other species appeared to not be all that focused on what was best for humanity. But there could be some argument that sheep, wheat, rice, and pine trees at least worked on the idea. And cattle, and maybe chickens. We can’t be all that sure about chickens as they are not very good at expressing their beliefs if they even have any. But we do know their circulatory system is driven by cowardice, hence the term: “chicken-hearted”. So let’s not presume too much about the altruistic nature of hens and roosters at this time. The eggs, however, come in handy at breakfast, and I know for a fact many humans appreciate them.

    I’ve studied the behavior of humans a good bit, and while the motive of helpfulness and bettering the human race is an interest to some, there is an apparently more selfish motive prevalent overall. War, for example, and that most sects have an amazing sense of being morally superior to all other sects enough to want to kill them has established itself in the history books. And they are a superstitious bunch, too. I won’t delve into that too deeply except to say I am not.

    One thing seems to be common among all life forms as far as purpose goes, at that gives the impression to be a bit of a sense of urgency about the survival of some of the DNA in the gene pool. I checked with the more educated members of my family, and they said our gene pool needed more chlorine. I hadn’t noticed, as I generally only play in the shallow end.

    1. Van, thanks for writing and for making it so clear that this question is a plunge into the deeper than deep end where lots of possible answers ~ nice and not a bit nice ~ live within the layers.

      1. LOL, yeth! Layers! And those with weak grammar skills often confuse the layers, the lyres, the liars, and those who lie down. I’m usually somewhere between those last two layers.

    1. Val, thanks for writing. I never quite expected to be living in the same sentence as the Dalai Lama!
      I found your post very interesting ~ must read more of Eckhart Tolle who is new to me.

  2. Great post! Well…I don’t get why “everyone wants to change the world”? What’s wrong with it??? War must be change in peace, other that, i don’t get why world has to be changed. Here is another powerful thought: “For if there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life.” Albert Camus

  3. Jean, I watched Shadowlands recently directed by the recently deceased Richard Attenborough. At the end CS Lewis played by Anthony Hopkins said “I suppose some people would say we love to know we are not alone. But why love if losing it hurts so much? I have no answers anymore, only the life I have lived. Twice in that life I have been given the choice: as a boy… and as a man. The boy chose safety. The man chooses suffering. The pain now is part of the happiness then. That’s the deal.”
    Lewis as a boy having lost his mother ran from his grief. Now as a man he could only meet his suffering and grief head on. It is the lesson of life. We are here to love and by dint of taking that risk we will suffer. The worry about kids/teenagers/adolescents; finances; relationships; work etc. How easy it would be not to take part in the drama of life. But then we miss out on the joys of love, community and fellowship.

  4. Again dear friend (hope I can call you that) you have put me in mind of my Dad and Mum. They always put us ( my brothers and sisters) first they gave us memories good and bad. As I sit here this morning on holiday with hubby and a friend of ours,in a little French village l’d say family friends and memories. Have a good day. Oh! I still don’t have the sea but there is a river at the bottom of the garden here. Xxx

    1. Willow, (friend, of course!), yes I agree with you about family, friends and memories but I wonder about going further in terms of reaching out to as yet ‘unknown’ friends and places.

  5. Hi Jean,
    I’m so far behind on reading blogs so I’m diving deep into the archival emails! 🙂 I love that photo, so full of serenity and beauty. You ask what is important in life and I think at this time (not stage) I’ll have to go with the cliche answer of health. Good health has a deeper meaning now as it’s been two years since our daughter, now 23, was diagnosed with a rare liver disease, auto immune, she doesn’t drink.
    She’s fine, but within the last five months, severe symptoms have flared up landing her in ER. There is no cause or cure, except when the liver gets truly sick, she’ll need a transplant to survive. It’s daunting, beyond words and tugs at the hearts of my husband and I. I’m still processing that this is reality for her and us since last week’s hospital stay. She’s fine now, but it’s all iffy.
    Anyway, I’m not divulging this for sympathy, but it so easy to take our health for granted and to think now that hers is in and will be in dire jeopardy sometime in the future is beyond all comprehension. I apologize for the long reply, but I’m still coming down from last week’s events and still emotional about it. Anyway, wishing you a good end to your weekend and a bright start to your new week.

    1. Lauren, please don’t apologise but accept sympathy and empathy.
      You are so, so right. Health is wealth and how easy it is to assume all is okay until a situation like your daughter’s arises.
      Thanks for sharing and for the wake up call!
      I hope you and your daughter as good a week as you could reasonably expect and hopefully you there will be a few bonuses thrown in!

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