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Monday, November 24, 1997

The Way I See It

By Rick Smith

The meaning of life revealed

What is the meaning of life? What is the purpose of life?

These questions have been the subject of many philosophical debates throughout all of recorded history, at least. I don't propose to understand the broad implications those two questions raise. The meaning of all life, or the purpose of life in general escapes me. But in my attempts to understand those questions I believe I have gained some insight into their personal implications. I think I understand the answers to those questions on a personal level.

What is the meaning of one person's life? What is the purpose of one person's life?

The specific answers to those questions differ from person to person. However, general guidelines can be proposed to help lead to specific answers for individuals.

The purpose of a person's life depends upon the goals that person sets. About 12 years ago I set the goal to make my living as a writer. To become a writer became my objective in life. I then had a purpose in life. The answer to "What is the purpose of my life?" became - to be the best writer I can become.

Once my life gained a purpose it also gained meaning. When I understood what I was supposed to do in life it gave life more significance, more meaning. Whenever I take a step to further my goal I gain a little happiness.

When you have a purpose in life, your life has meaning.

So, the answer to "What is the purpose of life?" is whatever is your goal in life. If your goal is to be a farmer, banker or writer, then that is your purpose in life. To become the best farmer, banker or writer you can be will give meaning to your life.

People who have no goals in their lives are often those who feel life has no meaning. They have little joy in their lives. They see little point in life.

I was 35 years old before I truly understood the purpose of my life. When I was a teenager I knew I enjoyed writing. I wrote about things all the time and made good grades in English classes whenever I had a writing project to complete. However, I was discouraged from pursuing writing as a career.

Whenever school career counselors would ask me what I liked to do I always answered "write." Their unfailing reply was "That's nice, but you can't make any money writing." So the one goal I had in life, the one thing that gave me a purpose and gave meaning to my life was shot down because of people who thought the main consideration in choosing a career should be what is going to make the most money.

I understand why they gave me that advise. The whole purpose of the public school system is to prepare students to enter into the work force. The jobs that pay the most are often those in the biggest demand due to a lack of workers in that field. Public school career counselors are trained to guide students into fields that need workers. So they were only doing what they had been trained to do, I bear them no ill will.

They were correct too, so far I haven't made much money as a writer.
But, because I was discouraged from following the only path in life that really appealed to me, I had no purpose, no goals and school held no meaning for me. Therefore I did poorly in school. Or I might have been lazy.

I do know that, now, being a writer gives my life a purpose and meaning that keeps me going. Being a writer makes life interesting to me. When I do a good job at my trade I get a sense of fulfillment that nothing else gives me.

I believe that anyone who finds their purpose in life will also find that their life gains more meaning. As they strive to fulfill their life goal they will also find more happiness.
What is your purpose in life? What is the meaning of your life?

Editor's Note: Rick Smith is the City Editor of the Pecos Enterprise whose column appears each Monday. He can be e-mailed at:

Your Views

Reader appreciates care given at hospital

To The Editor:

I spent a few days in the Reeves County Hospital recently and I wish to voice my sincere appreication for the professional care and consideration that was given to me. We, as a community are very fortunate to have such a fine facility available to us.


Club member shares tips on water usage

To The Editor:
Recently, Modern Study Club had as their speaker Mr. Octavio Garcia, our city water department superintendent.

We were amazed and dismayed by some of the things we learned.

We learned that Pecos City has 2 water fields with only 9 to 14 years of life expectancy left. One reason for our poor water quality is - the pumps are pulling water from the lower regions of the aquifer because the great demand for water for our town.

One the good side our city is attempting to purchase new fields and upgrade the present system: a cost of 6 million. They are doing this by writing and applying for grants.

Because of the scarcity of water in West Texas we are blessed to have forsighted, caring individuals working to provide for our future.

They are doing their best for us and there are ways we can help them. Simple things like:

1. Turn off the water while brushing teeth.

2. Turn off the water or let it run on the grass when washing.

3. You who have your own wells, don't let the water run into the street for two reasons: a. it wastes water and b. it contributes to the breakdown of the pavement in the street.

4. Check out your baths - there are new water saving devices for shower heads and commodes that only use one and a half gallons of water.

5. Set a timer so we don't forget the water hose and let it run all day or night.

6. Fix those leaks.

7. Take 3 to 5 minute showers.

8. Use less H2O in the tub.

9. Mulch plants to they require less water.
10. Set water heaters to normal rather than extra high settings.

Thank you, Octavio, thank you Pecos leadership for your insight.
Pecos citizens, let's do our part.

Joyce Morton
for Modern Study Club

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