What Constitutes a Meaningful Life? Part Two

What does it mean to live a meaningful life?
Here are responses from students enrolled in my “Sociology of the Life Course.”

Cultivate a sense of purpose
Be yourself
Pursue strong connections
Experience love
Don’t regret, just learn
Approach everything as a learning experience
Take care of yourself and others
Surround yourself with people you love
Stay true to yourself
Live in the moment
Make a positive impact
Pay it forward
Do what you enjoy
Bring good to the world
Honor nature

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2 Responses to “What Constitutes a Meaningful Life? Part Two”

  1. 1 Roberta March 5, 2012 at 12:41 am

    I asked the students in my Quality of Life course (class for older adults–age range in attendance 70–85 years old) the following question: What lessons have you learned that you would like to pass to younger generations? Here are the responses:
    Don’t live so fast
    Enjoy each moment
    Don’t accept everything society is telling you to do
    Remain drug free
    Accept yourself and others
    Keep in touch with nature
    Keep living
    Be a good person
    Education, education, education!
    Don’t stress
    Find out and focus on what YOU want and accomplish it
    Appreciate yourself and others
    Focus on growth rather than change
    Learn from and be kind to the older generation
    Have a sense of humor
    Life is what you make of it
    Include spirituality in your life

    I then asked my students how they thought college students might answer the question “What constitutes a meaningful life?” Responses ranged from career success to acquiring the newest electronic gadget and planning the next party.

    After I shared your students’ answers, many of my students were surprised at the similarity of responses between their life lesson question and the question your students answered. We talked a bit about the similarities among us all, and that we are really more alike than different regardless of age.

    • 2 Meika Loe March 8, 2012 at 12:52 am

      Thanks for weighing in Roberta. I love how you approached this in your course. Maybe I’ll do the inverse; ask my 20-something students what they imagine elders would say constitutes a meaningful life…

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