The End of Small Talk
By: Kim Evenson
3 years ago
Working at Legacy.com, I’m not able to completely ignore death, and that fact makes me strive to better understand the gift of life. That’s the mood the Meaning of Life Project was born from — to better understand the meaning of life and to build our collective learning on how best to live these days we are given.
In trying to average one interview each day, my close circle of friends got jumped on quickly; now when I get my hair cut or enter a cab I want to know what people think. Airport delays have a secret silver lining. On my last cancelled flight I got to know my whole section of the waiting room really well — and learned a lot.
I’m not sure that I can properly express how much this project has changed my interactions with strangers. I’m used to skipping small talk and moving directly to these big and deep conversations with people whom I’ve only just met. The awkwardness lasts a few seconds and then you are talking about what matters and the heart of living. The three questions are simple: “What advice would you give to a baby? What advice would you give reflecting on things you would change? What do you think the meaning of life is?” The answers, and the conversation that follows, make me feel really close to the whole of humanity. People are surprisingly generous with their wisdom. What follows is my third month of interviews covering advice on living and their understanding of the meaning of life.
Huge thanks to the unexpected poets and storytellers I’ve met. I am deeply indebted to you all for sharing the gift of your wisdom.
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.