It’s just past midnight.  I’m 39.  Wow.  I’ve been on this planet a long time.  Some people grow old gracefully.  I’ve never done anything gracefully, so why start now?  Also, I’ve ofter heard terms like “older” and “wiser” linked but I don’t really feel any smarter.  I don’t really feel older either, but the wrinkles around my eyes beg to differ.

Henri and I went to see ARGO tonight.  (It was fabulous, by the way.)  It dealt with the Iranian hostage crises in 1980 and the attempt to rescue six of the hostages by saying they were part of a Canadian film crew.  I was 5 1/2 when it happened, Rylee’s age, so I barely remember any of this beyond my mother telling us to pray for the hostages before we went to bed.  The movie was tense yet funny and gripping.  These people were faced with their own mortality and questioned all their decisions as a result.

Perhaps it was the movie.  Perhaps it’s my birthday and staring down middle age.  In either case, I’ve been thinking about my own life and pondering the meaning of life in general.  The last time I thought of anything deep and meaningful was when I was in college (big surprise there) and in a bar (no comment.)  “What do you think the meaning of life is?” I asked.

“Success,” said Jess.  “But how do you define success?  Is it having a lot of money?  Is it doing something  meaningful like teaching but being poor?” asked my boyfriend.  Jess could not answer.



“Happiness,” I said.  “But what if my happiness causes you to be unhappy?  That doesn’t seem right either.  Like robbing you would make me happy because it gives me money, but it doesn’t make you happy and it doesn’t advance anything,”  said my boyfriend.  He was deep.  He dressed in black and everything.

We settled on drinking ale instead and left philosophy for another day.

But now that I’m 39 and am older and wiser I have a new answer.  I think the meaning of life is to help other people help themselves.  Perhaps my deep ex-boyfriend would say that helping one person might hurt another but I think that’s over-complicating things.

I think most people want to be self-reliant but need a little encouragement every now and then.  Nothing causes me to smile more than helping others and then getting out of their way.  Teaching a child to tie her own shoe and then watching her teach her little brother.  Holding a door open patiently so a senior can hobble through on his own, then watching him relax when he realizes there is no rush.  Encouraging people at the gym to stick to their goals and seeing them light up with excitement a few days later when they update you about  their own progress.

I don’t think you need to do big bold things to make a difference.  It’s the little things in life – spending time with your kids, helping out neighbors, smiling at a stranger – that make little stiches in the tapestry of our life.  You never know how your actions will impact another person’s life, so try to stay true to yourself and to your own moral compass.

Well, I’m off to bed.  Perhaps we can revisit this discussion in another 20 years.  I’m sure my answer will change again.



What do you think?  Why are we here?


Sheslosingit.net (c) 2013 Lisa Traugott.  All rights reserved.  No portion of this blog, including any text, photographs, and artwork, may be reproduced or copied without written permission.

27 responses to “39

  1. Hmm. I think the meaning of life is to learn to be yourself – the best version of yourself. With absolute truthfulness.

    That’s what I take of it for now. I can’t think of anything deeper than that. I’m not religious, and i don’t believe that we’re innately here to help others more than ourselves, but I do believe that helping ourselves does help others, if we’re honest about it.

    Happy birthday!:) And welcome to the “almost old” group 🙂

  2. Do not worry ..I felt the same way on my 39th birthday and many other birthdays as well and you are definitely not old by any stretch of imagination..but I guess it I’d s good thing to reflect on one’s life.. Hey I wish I was just 39..but I am now in my fifties. I too do not feel old but know that time is rolling..and there is nothing to stop the clock on aging . Having said that I really enjoyed your post

  3. Why are we here…I can’t seem to come up with a good answer at all right now, but maybe just to support each other. Happy Birthday Lisa. I hope 39 is the best yet…and FYI you look 29 and FABULOUS!

    • Thanks! Of course, when I went to the movies on Friday I showed my ID to the teenager so I could get a free ticket, since I was 39 and she said, “Wow! My mom just turned 38 yesterday!” Wow…yeah…wow

      • LOL it’s all happening! I’m not too far behind you at 33. Blows my mind some people born in the 90’s can drink. It’s all relative though. On my baseball team I have guys who think I’m old and guys who think I’m young. We have a coupe of young pups around 20 and even one player in his 50’s!

  4. We all have a different purpose, I think my purpose is also to help people. I’m planning on studying nutritional medicine so I can do just that!

  5. Why are we here? The question is answered by the fact that you say ‘we.’ Being here for each other is why ‘we’ are here. Why are you here? Only you can answer that question. I have known for a long time that I am here to serve/help/heal others. Happy Birthday and many more!

  6. First off…Happy Birthday! Second, I love the hand image…mostly because of the verbs. I have a thing for action words. 🙂 And … you have totally got this. This thing we are doing, living our lives. I just turned 40 and blogged about it and tried to be so intentional about marking the occasion. It is important to recognize where we are and how we are growing and what we want to do…next. As for why we are here? Great question. I’ll some it up in a couple of action words: Learn. Grow. Help. Love. Nothing like a simple answer for a crazy complicated question. So happy our paths have crossed.

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