By: Kim Evenson
3 years ago
Since Jan. 1, 2015, I’ve been interviewing one person each day about the meaning of life. Mostly total strangers. The Meaning of Life Project is my way of sharing what I've learned.
Interviewing one person each day about life's big questions, I've gotten lots of answers that touch on "immortality" — the kind that we can achieve in our mortal lives by making a lasting impact on our community and those we love. People remind me again and again of the human magic that exists behind our relationships; together, we create something that is impossible alone. People often say they felt they lost a piece of themselves when someone they were close to died. They also talk about gaining happiness, peace, strength and love — becoming someone better by being in community with someone else.
While immortality in the Disney hero or villain way is well out of reach, I've learned that the immortal touch can be expressed more subtly. Each of us has an opportunity every day to influence the web of people and things around us. And those tiny little impulses we set into motion collectively change the course of the world.
I remember the moment, what seems like a lifetime ago, when I first fully understood the common miracle of the beginning of life. I was pregnant with our first child, sitting in an airport and watching the flow of humanity. Full of awe, I leaned over and whispered to my husband, "Every single one of these people was born." He gave me the well-deserved "Captain-Obvious-has-arrived" look, but here in front of us was proof that all of the steps that need to occur to produce us had occurred for billions of people, many of whom were streaming past us. This begged further study. How did each of their parents meet? What bright and dark gifts did they pass on? How did each of them become the people they were today? What places, experiences and other people had brought them to this moment? What difference does that single life, single act and single interaction make?
The ends of our lives are no less miraculous than the beginnings. Somehow, because of our days, the world is changed. Each conversation, touch, look sets off an impulse that echoes into the future. Thank you to my new friends of the last 30 days. By sharing your ideas you've forever shifted my views on humanity, sometimes almost imperceptibly and other times with a force that shakes its way into every day after.
Kim Evenson is Legacy.com's Chief Marketing Officer. The inspiration for the Meaning of Life Project was born from the company's mission of preserving life stories and sharing important lessons.