My head hurts. My body aches. My mind is heavy. My heart needs mending. What salvation is there for this godless soul?

I had an incredible conversation with my best friends last week about the pursuit of meaning vs. the desire for happiness. I asserted firmly that finding meaning is paramount and that while happiness is a byproduct of the pursuit of meaning, it is not a worthy pursuit in itself. I mentally reviewed all of the different ways in which I’ve found meaning in my own life over the past few years. There’s a lot to sort through.

The most important piece of advice I ever received was in 2013 from a good friend of mine who told me to start writing down all my thoughts. It does not have to be a grandiose statement about the banalities of living, but rather a short yet poignant documentation of what I feel or think at a moment in time. This has helped me tremendously in sorting through what I know is important and what I feel needs to be let go. To me, the pursuit of meaning is self-evident and revealing in our values, virtues, and manifests itself in the actions which help to achieve them. This sounds all too important, but a close and thorough examination of the micro level reveals the meaning unfolding itself like a flower, hidden in every corner and crevice of our everyday lives. People always told me “It’s the little things that matter,” but I didn’t think they meant like this. Little things matter only as long as we find meaning in them. Once we fail to seek it out, it will stop revealing itself to us.

I’ve been keeping tabs on everything I’ve been working on recently: major and minor shifts in life’s course, small projects, workplace accomplishments, self-betterment, etc. I’ve found it productive to notate how well I’m progressing, and if I’m progressing in a meaningful direction. Something as simple as coming home, reading a few pages of a book, texting a friend to make sure they’re okay, and calling it a night is a step in the right direction, even if my footprints are not far apart.

Even so, progress has its limitations and it doesn’t come without its setbacks. The past few days have taken me backwards. I feel like I’ve put up a cheap façade and it’s finally peeling.There are goosebumps all over in this most warm of apartments.

I feel very lost, and very broken.