Time has a way of Showing us what truly matters.
When I look at people doing different things, exploring places in search of occupation, finding their soulmates and getting fixed to them, or even making sacrifices for their kids, there’s just one question that rises in my head— What truly matters? I have always been a slow kid in understanding thoughts, actions and their reactions and that maybe the reason why I didn’t get the purpose of doing everything. My parents have always raised me with a moral conscience. They told me that everything in this universe has a meaning, and pointed towards the inner satisfaction, humanity, and goals as the most prominent things around. They told me the importance of life, love and kindness. But when I came to college and made some good friends, I began to know a different version behind the purpose of life. Furthermore when I enter the professional life, the definition again somehow altered. My parents told me that family is prominent, friends said it’s money that matters, and society led my focus towards somewhere between success and jealousy. And then when I began to conclude, all I had is questions, questions that you wonder at times but never have the courage to ask about. I tried to find answers, watched a lot of movies, read a lot of books, but when nothing seems to help, my intuition guided me the way to real people, people who were conscious and willing to give answers, answers about what matters most in life.
So, I prepared this questionnaire based on a few major events in life and then asked the same to people from different part of the world. I was stunned by the response I have received in the past couple of days, and today I am presenting you all answers for your review and final call.
Q.1 What is your Relationship Status?
1. K.S, United Kingdom (women): Married
2. J.Z, Brussels, Belgium (women): Married
3. S.A, Oregon, United States (women): Single
4. H.Q, Saudi Arabia (women): Engaged
5. J.J, Fairfield, United States (man): Engaged. We’ve been together 11 years and have a six-year-old daughter
6. K.E, Columbia, United States (women): Married
7. S.C, United States (women): In a relationship
8. D.C, Africa, Kenya (man): I am single right now..or rather confused cause I have 3 girls and I don’t know if am in a relationship with them or not.
9. K.W Phoenix, Arizona (U.S) (man): Married for many years
10. S.A, Pakistan (women): Majorly complicated! But I’d like to say, Happy!
11. J.D, Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri (women): Married
12. S.H, Massachusetts, U.S (man): Married
Q.2 What made you happy when you were a kid?
1. K.S, United Kingdom (women): Days out walking in the countryside with my grandparents.
2. J.Z, Brussels, Belgium (women): I was a happy kid so as long as I remember, I was always laughing and happy
3. S.A, Oregon, United States (women): When I was a child I was most happy playing outside with my friends.
4. H.Q, Saudi Arabia (women): Playing with boys in the street, running, ice cream, jello, building toys and little mechanical things, discovering old/unoccupied places, being with my best friend, and my mother’s amazing and yummy food (she stopped cooking that beautifully ever since she got sick).
5. J.J, Fairfield, United States (man): It was easy to be happy as a child. I could be in my room watching tv or reading or be just as happy riding bikes or walking around with my friends.
6. K.E, Columbia, United States (women): I loved to dance to music, make mud pies, climb trees, play with my friends. My happiest memories were when I went places with my family, to the beach or the mountains, camping or visiting a museum or other place of interest.
7. S.C, United States (women): Not having to worry about bills and other things that involve money
8. D.C, Africa, Kenya (man): The protection I felt around my family. And I also felt happy whenever I did something that made them proud and happy.
9. S.A, Pakistan (women): Holidays! Picnics! No homework! Exams finished! Promotion to new Class.
10. J.D, Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri (women): I was happiest when my father spent time with my brothers and me. He was gone a lot, so those moments when he’d throw a ball back and forth with us, or when we’d sit on the porch swing and just talk, were so special to me.
Q.3 Explain your feeling when you first achieve something?
1. K.S, United Kingdom (women): Pride but mixed with a little bit of fear/guilt that I might have just got lucky and I’m not good at it or don’t actually deserve the achievement as I could have worked harder?
2. J.Z, Brussels, Belgium (women): Satisfaction, happiness and proudness.
3. S.A, Oregon, United States (women): My first memory of achievement was my piano recital when I was nine years old. I worked very hard on the entire program, played well, and hosted a small reception.
4. H.Q, Saudi Arabia (women): I was so happy of course (and a bit afraid), but not so surprised because I usually work hard to achieve something.
5. J.J, Fairfield, United States (man): That depends on what you achieve, or rather the road it took to get there. For example, when I graduated I felt so much pride in myself because there were times I felt I wasn’t going to make it. I had to push myself to get up and go every day. Other times though, after trying and failing at something several times, the immediate feeling can be a relief.
6. K.E, Columbia, United States (women): I remember when I first rode a bike, it was thrilling and exhilarating. Years later when I rode on the back of a motorcycle the first time the feeling was even more intense than riding the bike, but the thrill and exhilaration were combined with fear and excitement
7. S.C, United States (women): My feeling when I achieve something is an awesome feeling. Makes me proud of myself and pushes me to do more
8. D.C, Africa, Kenya (man): Whenever I achieve I feel am a genius. But am always grateful to God, cause I don’t think I can achieve anything on my own
9. K.W Phoenix, Arizona (U.S) (man): I had the euphoria of accomplishment when I first had a teacher tell me that I had written something unique and worthwhile. Even though he did find some flaws, on one of which I disagreed, it meant a lot that I had experienced something in a way that was unique and had communicated it.
10. S.A, Pakistan (women): Sense of relief.
11. J.D, Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri (women): In short, happiness, pride, a boost of confidence, like I can take on something bigger now.
12. S.H, Massachusetts, U.S (man): It’s a relief. Anxiety dissolves out
Q.4 How did you feel on your wedding day?
1. K.S, United Kingdom (women): I was happy, excited and grateful for my grandparents as they paid for it.
2. J.Z, Brussels, Belgium (women): Happy excited with butterflies in my stomach
3. S.A, Oregon, United States (women): When I wed my (former) spouse I was very nervous, overwhelmed and relieved all at once.
4. H.Q, Saudi Arabia (women): I just hope I can have a wedding day. My fiance is not rich neither am I so that we may have a very tiny winy wedding, and it makes me sad a little bit, but yeah..life!
5. J.J, Fairfield, United States (man): Well, I am not married yet, sorry.
6. K.E, Columbia, United States (women): I was happy, a contented happy. I wasn’t nervous or worried, I just wanted to enjoy the day and have a fun time with friends, family and the great man I was planning to spend the rest of my life with.
7. S.C, United States (women): I am divorced now, but I would suppose happy then. Waiting for my next wedding which I know will be perfect.
8. D.C, Africa, Kenya (man): Well, Not married yet! :D.
9. K.W, Phoenix, Arizona (U.S) (man): Scared. I loved her, but would I be good enough? See #2 ti understand that
10. S.A, Pakistan (women): I was upset, nervous, big time conscious cause everyone was staring and judging me.
11. J.D, Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri (women): Excitement. The decision to get married was spur of the moment. We went to the courthouse to get the licensing paperwork needed for a legal marriage, and we decided to get married right then and there. I was also nervous. I wasn’t raised in a home where affection was common, and I wasn’t allowed to date during my teenage years. So I felt a little awkward during the ceremony. I even turned my cheek for the kiss because I was so embarrassed. Haha. Despite all of that, it was such a happy and exciting day.
12. S.H, Massachusetts, U.S (man): A mixture of gladness and peace
Q.5 Do you have children? If yes, define your feeling when your first child born?
1. K.S, United Kingdom (women): Yes, I have. I was anxious as she had to be taken to the special care baby unit and I was stuck in the ward, and I didn’t know what was going on. Then when I was allowed to see her, I didn’t feel connected and didn’t love her straight away. I thought it made me a bad mother. I learned to love her very quickly after that.
2. J.Z, Brussels, Belgium (women): You cannot really describe it …having a baby it’s the best thing happened to me. you feel accomplished and complete.
3. S.A, Oregon, United States (women): When my son was born I was a mix of emotions. I was very sad as my spouse (his father) was about to deploy to Afghanistan. I was wildly protective of my son. I was delighted to see my child and get to know him. I was overwhelmed by the family response.
4. H.Q, Saudi Arabia (women): I have no children yet, but when I had my first little sibling, I was so happy that I cared for him sometimes more than my mother
5. J.J, Fairfield, United States (man): Overwhelming joy. Like my heart could just float away. I never knew I could love anyone so much. Fear. Doubt. Uncertainty. Will I be able to care for this child, protect her, take care of her? Pride. I can’t believe we made this perfect little being.
6. K.E, Columbia, United States (women): My feelings when my first child was born. Uh, labour was no fun. And my husband was in a different state so I was scared of the unknown and I don’t care for pain. My very first thought after my child was born was born was a relief, no more pain! But then I got to hold my baby and I was overwhelmed with love and joy and awe at the miracle of life.
7. S.C United States (women): When my first child was born there were feelings of joy, also fear, I never raised a child before.
8. D.C, Africa, Kenya (man): I don’t have a child yet.
9. K.W, Phoenix, Arizona (U.S) (man): We don’t have children. However, we do have a sort-of-adopted son, who joined our lives when he was ten. I remember thinking, this kid has so much potential and I wanted to see him have the life he deserved. Now, over 40 years later, he is still dear to us and a source of great joy.
10. S.A, Pakistan (women): I don’t have children yet!
11. J.D, Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri (women): I was overwhelmed with happiness and love and awe to be seeing the face and tiny feet and hands of the baby that I’d carried in my belly for nearly a year. I also felt uncertain and lost on how to proceed. Taking care of a baby while it’s in the womb is easy. Figuring out how to take care of it after birth, not so much. Haha. At least that was the case for me with my firstborn.
12. S.H, Massachusetts, U.S (man): During the first minutes I didn’t react. I didn’t know what to feel. Moments later, I was curious about that beautiful baby. Then, I was worried because my wife had some complications. Then I just fell in love with the baby (until now.)
Q.6 Define your feeling when someone close to you died?
1. K.S, United Kingdom (women): I felt lost when my nan died. She was such a strong and caring and beautiful person that I didn’t know what to do. Instead of grieving I felt sorry for my grandad, my mum, my sister and the family and felt I needed to be strong for them. I tried but couldn’t find the strength which I felt let my nan/her memory down as she would have been able to find it.
2. J.Z, Brussels, Belgium (women): My closest person who passed away was my grandfather. I was pretty young and felt the loss of the mentality of a kid. However, I never lost the connection with my grandfather. He is always in my heart and I talk to him often.
3. S.A, Oregon, United States (women): When my dear friend Bob died I felt a great deal of denial. Everything about it felt so wrong. It still feels wrong. It took a long time for my heart to accept that he died. I still miss him but feel like we are still connected somehow.
4. H.Q, Saudi Arabia (women): I took a long time to understand it. I was so shocked that I didn’t cry except after many months passed. Until now, it saddens me that I cry sometimes unbelieving that my grandfather really died.
5. J.J, Fairfield, United States (man): When my father commuted suicide last year, it ripped me apart. I felt so many emotions all at once. I was depressed, angry, and confused.
6. K.E, Columbia, United States (women): My dad answered the phone when I was about 12, from the look on his face I knew someone had died. I was sort of numb, I went and sat in my room and couldn’t wrap my brain around it. About two weeks later I realized I’d never see the person again, hear their laugh or be able to talk to them and I cried and felt an emptiness in my heart.
7. S.C United States (women): When my grandmother died, I did not live near her at the time. I flew up for the funeral and it hit me hard. She was the first person close to me to pass
8. D.C, Africa, Kenya (Man): The first experience I had with death is in a very early age. It was my grandma. The only thing I remember is that I became sad when I could not see her around.
9. K.W Phoenix, Arizona (U.S) (man): At my age, I’ve been having a lot of friends die of late. Each time, I feel not so much sorrow as a sense of my mortality and usually relief that the friend has died quickly and with relatively little pain. Sure, I miss them and wish there had been one more time to get together, but I know that the journey we call life has no clarity of destination, so my mantra is, “farewell my friend I will think of you.”
10. S.A, Pakistan (women): Confusion. Disbelief.
11. J.D, Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri (women):: It depends on the age of the person and how expected or unexpected the death was. The deaths of my grandparents were difficult, but they were easier to accept because we’d already begun the process of accepting that their time was coming to an end before they died. Of course, it still hit hard. I still grieved and still think of them and miss them. The unexpected deaths are so much harder. One cousin died by suicide. I wasn’t sad for her, not at first. I was angry, so angry that she’d leave behind her pain for someone else to carry. Her mother, to this day, carries that heavy burden. I remember telling my husband that in that moment, I despised her for her selfishness. Maybe I was the selfish one for not sympathizing, but that’s how I reacted.
12. S.H, Massachusetts, U.S (man): It depends. I’m a Christian, meaning, I believe in the afterlife. When some relatives have died, I have felt peace, accepting death as a natural consequence of living, and knowing that they were devoted people who will meet me later. However, an atheist friend has murdered a couple of years ago. When they first told me, I couldn’t assimilate it. When I visited his family, I felt a cold feeling of sadness and void. I still remember him and can’t stop feeling the injustice of his murder (which is an unsolved case still,), and I’m still sad for his death.
Q.7 What gives you the most satisfaction?
1. K.S, United Kingdom (women): I get the most satisfaction from routine and doing things for others and making them happy even if that is detrimental to my own happiness? Strange I know
2. J.Z, Brussels, Belgium (women): It’s a broad question, but I am happy when am spending time with my son, just him and me.
3. H.Q, Saudi Arabia (women): Praying, reading Qur’an, love, helping the needy and the poor and the oppressed, and being successful at whatever I love to do.
4. J.J, Fairfield, United States (man): Sundays. It’s the only day of the week our whole family is home all day. We have a nice breakfast, play games and do crafts, and have a nice dinner. The time I spend with them is worth more than all the gold in the world
5. K.E, Columbia, United States (women): When I have done something that someone else appreciates. I don’t really like to cook, but when I’ve gone to the effort to make something for dinner and friends or family appreciate and like what I’ve made, then I feel satisfaction. I especially like it when I’ve written something creative, and people enjoy having read it.
6. S.C United States (women): Being able to help others gives me satisfaction. Although to be able to achieve my goals is rewarding as well.
7. D.C, Africa, Kenya (man): Am a musician. Whenever I complete composing a new song..and whenever am on stage..these things give me satisfaction.
8. K.W Phoenix, Arizona (U.S) (man): Spending time with my wife; we have wonderful fun together. Seeing our “son,” who is a source of real joy. Communicating with the people I care about. Having somebody really enjoy my writing. Oh, and experiencing the great art of any form.
9. S.A, Pakistan (women): Seeing someone I love happy.
10. J.D, Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri (women): I think the thing that gives me the most satisfaction is seeing my kids succeed at something they’ve struggled with, as it’s those things that I put a lot of work into helping them overcome. Parents can be hard on themselves, and I’m no exception, so I suppose it’s a little validation that I’m doing right by them, and that they’re going to become confident and successful adults.
11. S.H, Massachusetts, U.S (man): After praying and spending time with my family, reading and writing.
Q.8 Sum up your life in one sentence?
1. K.S, United Kingdom (women): My life is a crazy whirlwind with no direction and I just blow from one part of my life to the next with no plan whatsoever.
2. J.Z, Brussels, Belgium (women): Crazy and adventurous
3. S.A, Oregon, United States (women): Life changes.
4. H.Q, Saudi Arabia (women): My life hard, scary, and so tiring sometimes, but it’s happy mostly, and this is not because of what I have, but because I believe in God, in myself, and very much in humanity.
5. J.J, Fairfield, United States (man): Hmm, I made some mistakes, but I try my best to be a good person and do right by the ones I love.
6. K.E, Columbia, United States (women): A loving work in progress.
7. S.C United States (women): Crazy, sometimes hectic, even though things do not always go as planned, I find a way through and move on.
8. D.C, Africa, Kenya (Man): Everything in my life is a gamble except my music.
9. K.W Phoenix, Arizona (U.S) (Man): I have tried to care about others and to make the world a better place for my being in it.
10. S.A, Pakistan (women): Like a tidal wave, going up and down.
11. J.D, Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri (women): I’ve taken risks and sought experiences, loved to the best of my ability, and learned to appreciate things I took for granted in my younger years.
12. S.H, Massachusetts, U.S (man): I searched God and truth for years, and, after I found them, I keep digging light in them.
Q.9 Do you have any message for future generations?
1. K.S, United Kingdom (women): Appreciate and spend time with your family as when they are gone it will be heart-breaking knowing that you will never see them again. Memories are great but they are just not the same.
2. J.Z, Brussels, Belgium (women): Don’t settle for average …always be better than you were yesterday!
3. S.A, Oregon, United States (women): For future generations, I would tell them to breathe, forgive, and remember that life always changes.
4. H.Q, Saudi Arabia (women): Give before you demand to take.
5. J.J, Fairfield, United States (man): Be kind to each other and don’t get offended so easily. Spend time with your family and friends because life goes by in a blink
6. S.C United States (women): My message to them would be- do not ever settle for anything less then you are. Dream and dream big, there is no right or wrong. Be who you are, after all all that matters, in the end, is you.
7. D.C, Africa, Kenya (man): Life is a coin. Good and bad are its two sides..if you must have life, you must embrace both.
8. K.W Phoenix, Arizona (U.S) (man): Try to find happiness without causing pain to others.
9. S.A, Pakistan (women): Learn to switch off all our electronic gadgets and just go breathe in nature for a day or two. Watch the stars. Cook over a bonfire. Just let go and relax.
10. J.D, Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri (women): Try to worry more about your opinion of yourself than the opinions others have of you. One you can control, and it’s far more important to your overall happiness and well-being than the other.
11. S.H, Massachusetts, U.S (man): The world has been, is and will be substantially the same place. Don’t try to change it. Change yourself and your closest surroundings. It’s the most you can do; the best you can do.
Q.10 Now that you have reminded about all those incidents, do you know what matters?
1. K.S, United Kingdom (women): The only thing that matters is love. Love yourself and others.
2. J.Z, Brussels, Belgium (women): For me, it’s always crystal clear …my son, my parents my brother are the most important to me. For me and then to be happy and in good health. The rest is achievable.
3. S.A, Oregon, United States (women): If you’re asking if the previous reflection has shaped my personal sense of meaning within life- no, answering these questions did not create an epiphany or new sense of cosmology within my mind. Asking what something means is ultimately a childish and distracting question, one that pulls us out of the living, embodied the experience of each moment. It matters that I pursue truth, that I love broadly and live kindly. This matters. As for what one infers for meaning, that is rooted in their cosmology
4. H.Q, Saudi Arabia (women): Yes, I guess so. For me, what matters is to know how to live a meaningful life. Live a life that matters.
5. J.J, Fairfield, United States (man): Family. Love. Time.
6. S.C, United States (women): Everything, yet nothing matters, only who you are, as odd as that sounds. People are too busy trying to please other and forget about themselves. Going with the crowd is not the answer, going against it is not either. The only way to truly make a difference is to be yourself.
7. K.W Phoenix, Arizona (U.S) (Man): Yep, very little. In the end, when I am worm food and nothing more, there is little that matters. And, at the same time, everything matters because until that day I have to look in the mirror and like what I see.
8. D.C, Africa, Kenya (Man): What matters is being. To be able to smell a nice fragrance. And to be able to smell a disturbing one.
9. S.A, Pakistan (women): Peace of mind, the contentment of heart with whatever one has in life.
10. J.D. Women (Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri): Yes. Family, of course, and my happiness
11. S.H, Massachusetts, U.S (man): Love, and resisting fear. Everything else is dust.
I have received many more answers, but I have just added the ones I found unique and thoughtful. The story behind social experiment of what matters most is not only about me but also about the bigger picture that we all are ignoring for a long time. I started this soul-searching experiment to find the truth, to collect experiences, not in my tone, flesh and being, but in the way, people have lived it and what I have found was phenomenal.
All I can say is life isn’t fair and there’s no guarantee about what will happen tomorrow. But if there’s something that truly matter– is you, is that you are alive, breathing and capable, that you still have time to do good & say things that matter before it’s all over and there be nothing but air, air with the blend of stories.
Now, the time has come for the left-handed author to leave you with the answers and observe what matters most in life. For me, the message matters, and it’s you who truly matters.
Woww, This is such a stunning blog. Thanks so much Dear Author to do this social experiment & to collect and share the experience from all over the world. Sometimes , we are really so confused within our coincide to find out such a tipical answers & to emphasized what really matters. Kudos to your endeavors to find out n share such glimpse of real life with us.
Thanks again, it’s really so meaningful . Best wishes for your future endeavors. Get the charm of success & lead us in the right track. God bless.
Thanks so much shefali. Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder. 🙂
Once again, you have broken all barriers to ask the question that most of the people neglect. What truly matters in life is the reason that we are alive today. We begin thinking that our favourite doll matters the most to us as we can talk incessantly and fearlessly. As we grow up, we tie a knot with people who make us who we are. In this adventure of life, we often fail to agree that the quest to explore our inner core had been born right since we had learned to smile. As we talk to our dolls, we reveal the secrets that we had been waiting to accept. As we grow fond of our soulmate, we understand what makes us happy and what we truly want in love. In some way or the other, all of us would agree that exploring our inner self, converting our weakness as our strength, and seeking happiness, love, and peace is what truly matters.
What a lovely reply, shreya! you have summed up the entire article flawlessly. Loved your words. Thank you for your words. 🙂