The annual evaluation of the meaning of life

Every January since 1997 I answer for myself the question “What is the meaning of life?”

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Every January since 1997 I answer for myself the question “What is the meaning of life?”

Answering the question leads to deeper understanding of yourself and may even benefit your physical health, as I explore in a CNN.com story that’s part of my column, The Wisdom Project.

Below are my actual answers to this question for every year except the two in which I forgot to record it.

1997: The discovery, pursuit and attainment of one’s bliss

1998: To create something that makes the world a better place

1999: To find yourself, and then do what he or she wants you to

2000: Cultivate joy and happiness in yourself and others

2001: The pursuit (and hopefully attainment) of love and justice

2002: Love

2003: To see life in a deeper, richer, more profound way and act accordingly

2004: The search for the beauty of the world, experience it, and contribute to it

2005: To generate and receive love

2008: Continuation of one’s DNA to the next generation

2009: To be fully engaged and in one’s own life

2010: To live optimistically and wisely

2011: There is only one important time, and that is now. The most important one is the one you are with. The most important thing to do is good for that person.

2012: Love and other peak experiences

2013: The pursuit and love and happiness

2014: Taking care of the ones you love and amassing peak experiences

2015: Joy and usefulness

2016: All you need is love

2017: To leave a good and lasting effect on the Earth

Related Medium story: My personal philosophies

David writes CNN.com’s The Wisdom Project. You can be subscribed to here: https://tinyletter.com/wisdomproject

CNN’s Editorial Director of Features (Travel, Style, Wellness, Science), plus The Wisdom Project column. This account represents my personal views, not CNN’s.

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