“What am I doing with my life?”
So many people ask themselves this question. What is my purpose? Is my life exciting? Am I going to be happy? What matters to me?
But the biggest question people tend to ask is, “What is the meaning of life?”
For Carli Galligan, life has a lot of meanings. And not only meanings, but twists, turns, forks in the road, good times, bad times, and everything in between. But throughout all of that, one might wonder, What makes me, me? Why is my life like this? What brought me here?
For some, it is family. “My family means the absolute world to me. I know everyone says that they’d be lost without their family, but it is so true. They’re there for me no matter what, and I can’t even begin to imagine what it would be like without them,” Carli said with a smile. She has always had a close relationship with her parents and sister, Jenna. “I mean, yeah, we fought a lot when we were little,” Carli explained about her relationship with her sister, “but I think we always knew in the backs of our minds that someday we’d need each other. Plus, you just gotta love them, ya know? Jenna is my only sister, and only sibling. And I love her to pieces.”
Carli attended a small Catholic school from Kindergarten through eighth grade, and said that it really made a difference in her life. “The most kids I had in my class was 16, and that was when we were in kindergarten. It just got smaller and smaller as we went up through each grade.” Her graduating class consisted of twelve students, but it was almost better that way, because she and her classmates were very close by the end of their years at St. Benedict’s. “I just have nothing but good memories from that place. I met my best friend on my first day of kindergarten, and we’ve been close ever since. I think that because of the close-knit community we had there, we really got to have a second family.” So, for Carli, family plays a very important role in how she got to where she is today.
What about adventures? “I wish I could say I’ve done a whole bunch of crazy things, but like, I haven’t done anything extreme, like cliff jumping or something!” Carli said, with a laugh. Though she hasn’t gone bungee jumping or sky diving, she has gone on several vacations with her family, as well as a few class trips to Washington D.C. and New York City. Her favorite vacation was to California one summer while she was in high school. “I just love California, and the beach. It just screams summer vacation.”
Sometimes God is a big part of someone’s life. For Carli, she explained that it has played a major role. “Ever since I was a little kid we’ve [she and her family] been going to church together. It’s really shaped who I am.” Throughout high school, she went on four mission trips to Austin, Texas; St. Louis, Missouri; Davison, Michigan; and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. “Each one was different, but I think I learned a lot about myself, and how lucky I am to have the life that I do. I think that’s a really important thing to do; to see how fortunate you are. Because then when you’re struggling to see the good in your life, you can look back on those times and remember all the things you’ve got going for you.” She still goes to church even at college, and she says it helps her relax and take time out to pray during the week.
Often one’s hobbies and activities are very important, and hold a lot of meaning for people. “I used to have a lot of hobbies. I was in large group speech, choir, band, track, cross country, and I performed in a few musicals and a variety show. And I love reading, running, and writing. But since coming to college, I haven’t had as much time for things that aren’t school-related, which bugs me. I wish I had more time,” Carli said. “One time last year somebody asked me what kinds of things I liked to do for fun, and I realized I didn’t really know. I’d had so many activities for so long, and then I quit doing most of them once I wasn’t in high school anymore. It was a harsh reality check, honestly.” But she explained that she liked to go out and have fun with her friends and boyfriend doing things like mini-golfing, bowling, getting ice cream, and going on walks and bike rides. “I guess I don’t really have hobbies, but I have plenty of things I like to do. Although, in a way, those are hobbies, too. Oh my gosh, I have hobbies!” she said, laughing.
So, what is the meaning of life, then? There are so many pieces and parts to every person’s life, some more meaningful than others. And many people never know what the meaning of life is, or if there is an overarching meaning.
“I think that the meaning of life is different for everybody, there can’t just be one sole meaning or purpose to every person’s life. If that was the case, then we would all be the same” She stated.
“I think it’s all about the journey you have and the people you share it with. Because that’s something that’s all yours. That’s the reward you get at the end – knowing that you got to do all the things you did, and that no one can take those experiences away.”