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The Meaning of Life

by Bill Hettler, MD

As I enter the eighth decade of my life on this planet, I reflect back on my changing perceptions of the Meaning of Life. I have tried to accurately recall my thoughts, feelings and actions as I reached each tenth anniversary of my birth.

Billy Hettler, age 10

Life is play, action, learning and family gatherings. Exploring the world is a high priority. A new Schwinn Phantom bike, with a built in horn and light made my birthday perfect. The purpose of life is to have fun, through action oriented activities. Television is something primarily for adults. No kid I knew would ever think of going into the house to watch TV. Our play was in the outdoor world.

Gerhard William Hettler, III, age 20

Life is independence, intellectual curiosity, sports, legal responsibilities, and the mate selection process. Drivers licenses and draft cards help to transition this young adult into the world of social responsibility. College makes the exploration of the meaning of life a legitimate, credit earning activity. More questions than answers are encountered. Minors in religion and philosophy did not make sense of the "bomb", world hunger, or racial injustices. The meaning of life is debated in endless discussions that go into the wee hours of the morning. Sports provide a massive outlet for all types of excess energy. Altruism and service to others brings a sense of satisfaction. The mate selection process, having been retarded by the religious and community norms, has more to do with sexual learning and establishing ones sexual identity, than actually finding a mate.

Bill Hettler, MD, age 30

Life is parenting and career. It is a jungle out there, and now you have your own genetic material to protect. Now there are endless questions from your own children, and you still don’t really know the meaning of life. Balance is difficult to manage, even for this former gymnast. You begin to realize that social and community influences can have dramatic impact on your progeny. Life can have more meaning if you work to improve the social groups within your sphere of influence. There are always choices that need to be explored.

Bill Hettler, MD, age 40

Life is short for some. High school classmates and parents have died. The essentials of life are very clear. Clean air to breath, clean water to drink, healthy foods to eat, the love of a partner, physical activity for self and family, social support groups and intellectual stimulation are brought into some semblance of balance. The investment of time in nurturing offspring is becoming less a chore and more a joy.

Bill Hettler, MD, age 50

Life is love. Love is close to home. Money is not the answer. Health really is wealth. Balance is getting easier each year. Altruism still brings a sense of well being. The purpose of life is improve the planet for self, others, and your descendants. Balance is more than a handstand.

 Bill Hettler, MD, age 60

Life is love. Love is close to home. Money is not the answer. Health really is wealth. Balance is getting easier each year. Altruism still brings a sense of well being. The purpose of life is improve the planet for self, others, and your descendants. Balance is more than a handstand. Grandchildren help bring these issues to the forefront of your consciousness.

 

 Bill Hettler, MD, age 70

At this point in life, my ideas are changing very little. Life is love. Love is close to home. Money is not the answer. Health really is wealth. Balance is getting easier each year. Altruism still brings a sense of well being. The purpose of life is improve the planet for self, others, and your descendants. Balance is more than a handstand. Grandchildren help bring these issues to the forefront of your consciousness.

 

Above content is from:

 

Book of Wellness: A Secular Approach to Spirituality, Meaning and Purpose
Donald B. Ardell

Book Cover

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