Ah, yes, ye’ ol’ Most Important Question.
The classic answers I’ve heard to What Is The Meaning Of Life are: 42; to create Meaning; there is none; to live it; the sound of a fart.
Put them together and you get “Life has no Meaning, except that Meaning is intrinsic, found by doing and creating and fucking, fighting, farting, and reading Douglas Adams.”
Combined or separate, all of the enduring answers are equal measures absurd, circular, and always pointing back at the self for definition.
But that’s the beauty about The Most Important Question (or any question really): the response can be completely self-generated from the depths of one’s own despair or joy.
Though, I do think there is another way to look at The Meaning of Life that is no less obtuse but makes it potentially easier to answer for oneself.
The best way I can circle the drain of Meaning comes from something A.A. Milne wrote:
I think we tend to conflate Meaning with Purpose—Meaning which is an understanding with no set course and Purpose which has a directionality of how to be or act.
By attempting to feel, instead of define, the Meaning of Life, you can work yourself into a peaceful knowing that sits quietly somewhere deep in your chest.
It’s still a personal, bullshitty, unclear response, but it breaks free from the frantic philosophical runaround that words give.
If you want, or if a wordless answer does not satiate your brain’s curiosity, you can then take that immutable warmth of Meaning and translate it back into language of Purpose.
For me, that deconstruction into feeling and reconstruction into words comes out as:
The Purpose of My Life is to make my life richer and more colorful to myself. (secret: this usually comes through doing the same for other people).