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What Fills My Life with Meaning?

It's not about what makes me happy; it's about what gives my life meaning

The following are some of the elements of my life that give my days meaning:

  • My 43-year marriage with the man I fell in love with 47 years ago. I had just turned 22 when we got married. How lucky that even at the young age of 21, I was able to make such a critically important and right decision for my life.
The author and her husband
Source: bjaffe/blogger
  • Motherhood: my three adult sons, who will always be one of the most meaningful elements of my life. One never fully knows what parenthood feels like until one becomes a father or a mother. For me, there is such meaning in guiding little souls to become their own people who lead their own lives in the ways they choose.
  • The women I have come to adore who love my sons. I have special daughters-in-law, women who are caring and loving and think about others. They include me in their lives, for which I am forever grateful.
One of the memories the author holds dear every day: Her family together
Source: bjaffe/blogger
  • Dark roast coffee, especially the first sip in the morning. I close my eyes and with contentment, take in the aroma and flavor of this dark, exquisite liquid.
  • My early morning walks with Emma, my furry daughter, who looks forward to these jaunts like a child going to Disneyland.
  • A good book—no, a great book, which makes me feel like I must stop reading before the end to make it last. Of course, I ultimately complete the book, but always with the same dilemma. Do I put it down and savor the fact that it’s not over or do I appreciate having completed such a valuable piece of writing?
Just a small portion of the author's books
Source: bjaffe/blogger
  • Watching a great series on television: Downton Abbey, The Crown, Breaking Bad, Boardwalk Empire, Mad Men, Game of Thrones, Victoria. There are others, but I always feel amazing while watching and slightly forlorn when having completed the series.
  • Triple Dipped Milk Chocolate Malt Balls from one specific candy store. Heaven on earth. I have at least two a day.
  • Lying under a soft blanket with Emma on top of me during the ‘cold’ (60 degrees) Los Angeles nights as I watch TV or read.
Dear, sweet Emma
Source: bjaffe/blogger
  • Swimming my laps every day during the warmer weather. I marvel at the feeling of utter joy of being in the water, the same feeling I had as a little girl, leaving foggy San Francisco for the peninsula to escape the cold summers.
  • The hugs from my 4 1/2-year old grandson with his unsolicited words, “I am so happy to see you, Nana!”
The author and her dear grandson Ezzie
Source: bjaffe/blogger
  • The large smile of acknowledgement from my 2 ½ year old granddaughter when she looks into my eyes and screams, “Nana!” And then she says the words that melt my heart: “Uppy.”
  • My important work at the Museum of Tolerance, where I am educating others about the Holocaust and man’s inhumanity to man—the warning signs we all must heed.
  • Long-term female friendships that enrich my soul. We have grown up together from young mothers to grandmothers. Over the years, we have shared birthdays, Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, graduations, showers, weddings, baby namings and, sadly, even funerals of our loved ones.
  • Writing early in the morning (before my walks with Emma), when my mind is the most uncluttered and most creative.
The author and her dear granddaughter Rose
Source: bjaffe/blogger

  • My memories, which I do not take for granted, especially having witnessed my paternal grandmother’s ten-year battle with Alzheimer’s Disease. I return to my first date with my husband when I was just 18. Our first dance to “People.” Our honeymoon in Hawaii. The birth of each of our three sons. Some of their firsts: teeth, walking, talking, school. Their graduations and weddings and their own babies. My dear parents, who are always in my heart, who guided me and still do even though they are no longer here. There is such meaning in all of these cherished memories.