As we go about our daily lives, sometimes, the feeling of boredom and displeasure begin to settle into our minds as we relive the same schedule, day in and day out. This constant cycle and unremitting sense of deja vu can cause someone to ask the question: what is the meaning of life? Is it to achieve more than our parents did in their lifetime? Or is the meaning of life simply to put our best effort forth and accept what our destiny brings upon us? These questions, all of which have no answer, or at least have an answer that has eluded us for thousands of years, have become the primary measurement of success in one’s life. If you can answer these questions using your financial success and comfortable lifestyle, it is deemed by society that your life was fulfilling and exceptional. However, the goal in life is not always to be a millionaire tycoon- one cannot simply worship money as their religion. Success, although not viewed as such, is a relative term. The definition of success changes from person to person, and the meaning of life can differ for everyone; one can achieve their life goal without financial wealth.
Imagine yourself, on your deathbed, reflecting on the life you lived. You had a successful and lengthy career as a doctor, and made more than enough money to support yourself and your spouse of forty years. However, the medical school you attended was halfway across the country from where you grew up, and thus your relationship with your family faltered- your communication with your parents wavered, and you rarely met up with your siblings and cousins. Also, you were unable to have kids due to a problem with your spouse, but you loved them and stayed with them the rest of your life. Would you say that you succeeded in life in this scenario? Would you say you met the expectation for yourself, or that you failed your life goal? The answer can and will change for everybody. Priorities affect your answer to the questions, and priorities are molded from family influence.
If you were to live in a rough, run-down area with a crime rate in the top three percent of the U.S, where boarded up houses, apartments and buildings stretched for blocks, and the sky was more gray than blue from all the pollution in the air that had accumulated over time, success might be defined as becoming the first person in your family to earn a college degree and being able to support your parents in their later years in life. On the flip side, if you were to be born into a family that treated you like royalty from the minute of your conception and was ready to provide you all the money you ever needed, your success may be defined as the tireless hours of hard work you put into your unstable job, despite the wealth being handed to you on a silver platter. This is why success and being able to define the meaning of life is relative. The past success of our family influences us very strongly, as parents wish for their kids to achieve more than they ever did, and kids aspire to do more than their parents.
However, as we have no choice of the family we are born into, success can be harder to attain for some more than others. The son of Bill Gates, for example, will have a much harder time achieving more than his father than the son of a coal miner will. Of course, under certain circumstances, the family may not be able to support the son in his future endeavors, and he too, may be stuck as a coal miner like his father. The product of these realizations turn the definition of success on its head- which is why there is no definite meaning of life. Although you may have a rich parent, that parent may not be the charitable kind, and instead keeps their fortune for themselves. While you may struggle to surpass their financial achievements, you can still be more successful than them in the sense of being a good global citizen. Donating time and money to charities can be the meaning of your life, even if it does not equate to greater financial wealth than your parents
Success is not an objective measurement, and it consists of two factors: are you happy with the part of your life you have already lived (the past) and are you comfortable and happy with what could be in store for you (the future)? To answer these questions, you must look at the history of your family, and the success they had achieved in the past. While you may not be able exceed the fiscal standard set by your family, your work as a citizen can reach farther meaning than any amount of money can. All of this leads us to the harsh but very real truth: there is no concrete meaning of life; we can only be as successful as the standard set for us by our families, and these standards change for every human being.