• Susan Pattis

What is Life? (Part VIII)

Life is about experiencing suffering. Everyone experiences suffering in life; there are no exceptions. Wealthy people suffer because they have more than they need. The poor people suffer because of their poverty. Homeless people suffer because they have no family or loved ones. People with relatives suffer because of family issues. People who seek pleasure in excess suffer because of their uncontrollable excitement. I could list more situations in which suffering happens. However, not all sufferings are equal. Some suffering is undoubtedly more painful than others, but after all, we must all suffer regardless of who we are or what we have. Let’s look at suffering from another angle, as though we were riding a roller coaster. Many young people like the extreme feeling of riding a roller coaster, at one moment, it is so exciting, and at the next moment, it is so scary. The roller coaster takes you from a great height to close to the ground, with sudden ups and downs, and at speeds of 150km per hour. You cannot cherish pure happiness without experiencing some suffering. Life is like what we see in Hollywood movie. The movie starts cheerfully, then the story twists and turns before ending happily.


Life is about believing “The Best is Yet to Come.” When you are young, you learn from parents and teachers about following a typical path for your entire life: study hard, get a job, meet someone, get married, become a parent, retire, and wait for the final moment. Collectively, humans are trained to take a safe route in the life journey by driving on a particular road and concentrating on righteous milestones towards the ultimate destiny. Is the path a good choice? Or it is just acceptable protocols of human beings? An authentic life begins when you make a pause in your life journey and look outside your boundaries. You might happen to see unknown beauty. You can leave your road and enjoy the surroundings more closely. Yes, the best is yet to come for all of us; it has nothing to do with age or gender; it is a mindset. Pause and make the unique road trip that is your life a memorable one, not only for you but also for those at your side. There is no need to count the milestones you pass because you can experience unforgettable adventures between those milestones. Never stop exploring as much as you can because those who only count milestones usually reach their destiny with regret and resentment. Start now and trust “The Best is Yet to Come.”

Life is about reading an open book. We go through our life book carefully, gradually, and fearlessly. We do not have to close the book, but we need to turn the pages over as we go through our lives. You cannot stop at one chapter too long because you have a whole book to finish in this life. Every new chapter opens automatically when the previous chapter finishes. The life book content is unknown and unpredictable because we cannot foresee what is coming next. We should never get too comfortable reading the book because we need to be prepared for all eventualities in the subsequent chapters. Everyone has an exclusive, unique, and different book. The book opens at birth and automatically closes at the end of life. The book will remain in existence for ever, even after it is closed.


Betty: I am a 26-year-old, I do have not much life experience yet, but I always believe that my life is full of happiness, love, support, commitment, and devotion. In my childhood, I thought being good at studying was the aim of my life. In primary school, I thought receiving good test result was my life goal. I thought that passing the national SAT for a good college was my life purpose in my high school years. After that, getting a well-paid job became my life priority. Now, my focus is finding my loving partner and to get married. I never asked myself the meaning of life until a friend shared your blog site with me. Yes, I have been thinking about this question for several days now. I am just an ordinary girl following the path as others do. Thanks for your reminders that everyone needs to take a few minutes to think about the real meaning of life.


Wei: Last month, I rode my bicycle home after a busy working day. At a red light, an old lady in her seventies was trying to sell roses to people stopping at that intersection. She visited every car and bike for a potential sale. A gentleman, in his thirties, in an SUV bought all her roses from her paying a $100 bill. I saw the most beautiful smile on her face when she handed the flowers to that man. I can still recall how happy and content she was at that moment. “Thank you so much for selling roses here because I didn’t find time to buy flowers for my wife to celebrate our tenth anniversary,” the man said with gratitude and a satisfied smile. I was amazed how a small thing could change the feelings of others. So, for me, life is about giving a helping hand to someone when you can, spreading happiness to others naturally and wholeheartedly and without overthinking.


To Be Continued.