“The meaning of life is just to be alive. It is so plain and so obvious and so simple. And yet, everybody rushes around in a great panic as if it were necessary to achieve something beyond themselves.”

Alan Watts

Ah, life. That grand, jagged stained glass window of joy, sorrow, and—let’s be honest—utter absurdity. We’re all born into this world, fresh and squishy, like a loaf of bread straight out of the oven. And then, almost immediately, we’re handed a to-do list. “Learn to walk, learn to talk, get good grades, go to college, get a job, get married, have kids, retire, and oh, don’t forget to floss.”

It’s as if someone handed us a script on Day One and said, “Here you go, kid. Stick to the lines, and you’ll do just fine.” But what they don’t tell you is that the script is more like a choose-your-own-adventure book written by a caffeinated squirrel. You think you’re following the plot, but then you find yourself in a subplot—debating whether you can use a one-color version of your company’s corporate logo for your PowerPoint presentation. And you’re like, “Wait, how did I get here?”

We’re all in this mad dash to “achieve” something, as if life were a game of Monopoly and the one with the most hotels on Boardwalk wins. But let’s be real, even if you win, you’re still playing Monopoly, and is that really winning?

The truth is, life doesn’t have to be a frantic scramble for success, love, or that last slice of flan at the family gathering. Sometimes, the most profound moments come when we simply exist. When we take a deep breath and realize that being alive is, in itself, a spectacular feat. You’re a walking, talking, thinking bag of water and stardust. That’s pretty darn amazing if you ask me.

So, the next time you find yourself in a tizzy, hyperventilating into a paper bag because you haven’t achieved “enough,” remember this: You’re already a marvel just by being here. You don’t have to climb Mount Everest or launch the next unicorn SaaS startup with sky-high ARR to validate your existence. Sometimes, just being is enough. And if you can do that while also enjoying a good laugh and maybe a slice of flan, well, you’re pretty much nailing this whole life thing.

Take a moment. Breathe. Be. And for heaven’s sake, pass the flan.

Stephen Boudreau serves as VP of Product + Content Marketing at Virtuous Software. For over two decades, he has helped nonprofits leverage the digital space to grow their impact. To that end, Stephen co-founded RaiseDonors, a platform that provides nonprofits with technology and experiences that remove barriers to successful online fundraising. He is an avid (but aging) soccer player, audiobook enthusiast, and the heavily-disputed UNO champion of his household.

Copyright ©2024 Stephen Boudreau.