Cravinglife had written that my writing and Gianna's (as well as others) have been very helpful, and quoted Viktor Frankl, who's always been an inspiration to me, although I didn't remember reading this particular quote (or the one that follows).
"The purpose of life is to find one's gift. The meaning of life is to give it."Cravinglife also wrote: "I honestly believe that you all write with such clarity and deep meaning that you truly have found the purpose of your life, and by means of your public writing and of all the readers who benefit from it, you have also discovered your true meaning in life. And for that, I thank you all."
CL ended with a second Frankl quote: "...man's main concern is not to gain pleasure or avoid pain but rather to see a meaning in his life. That is why man is ever ready to suffer, on the condition, to be sure, that his suffering has meaning."
What CL couldn't know was that every time I go through a depression, I dwell on whether my pain and suffering has any meaning whatsoever, and more recently whether I should be writing this blog, or concentrating my energies elsewhere.
And, in fact, it seems like the search for meaning has been my quest ever since my first depression--41 years ago. For most of my life, I have wondered why I can't just be happy, like other people seem to be, and why I have had so much difficulty finding meaning in my work.
As I've mentioned before, when I was younger I had a number of very prestigious jobs, none of which provided meaning. In fact, when I was 27, I was the Art and Antiques Editor for Architectural Digest, one of the most prestigious magazines in the world. It was one of those jobs that when people asked what I did for a living and I told them, their mouths literally dropped open. It was "oh so glamorous" and "oh so unimportant" to me.
After three years, I couldn't stand it any longer and quit. I couldn't imagine that my purpose in life was to work for an art and antiques magazine--no matter how impressive. But, it's not like I had lined up another more meaningful job before I resigned.
The truth is it took months to get my next job. I decided I may have made a mistake in quiting prematurely (another unfortunate pattern) My next few jobs were far less impressive, and didn't have anything to do with a calling. In fact, no one understood why I'd quit, and it seemed to be the beginning of a downward spiral.
Sequeway to the present...When we were in Santa Barbara, I picked up a book, U-Turn: What If You Woke Up One Morning and Realized You Were Living The Wrong Life? by Bruce Grierson.
"Oh, my God," I thought. "Maybe that's my problem. Perhaps I suffer from depression because I'm living the wrong life. I wonder if my quest for meaning is a bipolar symptom or just a personality flaw that I should have come to terms with years ago. What in the world is wrong with me?"
(to be continued)
P.S. Today would have been my father's 88th birthday. "I love you daddy and miss you so much. I imagine you and mama are in heaven together smiling down on me."