There is an intuition that you and I both have. We want to make something of ourselves; we want to do something with our lives. It is an intuition that we cannot shake or deny without ceasing to be human beings or, at the very least, modern human beings.
The intuition is based on two assumptions: one being that we are selves with lives to lead; the other being that we do not begin our lives by being already fully realized. Our lives therefore become projects or tasks writ large, and these projects or tasks are, above all, things that we care about. It would be difficult to conceive of what could come before caring about the lives we lead and the selves we want to become since it seems nearly self-evident that caring about the lives we lead and the selves we become must come first. We care that these life projects go well because we think, in and through and because of them, that we can ‘become who we are’ (Nietzsche).
If these projects, these life tasks of ours do turn out to have gone well, then we can feel justified in saying that we have indeed made something of ourselves, that we have done something with our lives.
Saying that we have made something of ourselves or done something with our lives means that our lives have been meaningful.
In what I have argued so far, there is a lot to unpack. I mean to do so in the following posts.