For myself, the meaning of life is to live it in each second that you are given.
One of the eye-opener's that I experienced at a young age was my grampa passing. At the time, I couldn't understand why everyone seemed so sad in
the ceremony, but so joyous at the reception - it was then that it was explained that when someone dies, the first part of the ceremony in the church
is to let out all the sadness and prevent it from being built up - the reception was meant to express the joy that the person has given you, and that
you yourself are still alive.
What I learned from this is that my grampa didn't really do this - He spent a lot of his time away from my Dad, aunts and uncles; It made me aware at
just how short our physical life is. Since then, I've also reminded myself at every birthday that it's a blessing to be able to experience life
another second more, even when life throws you a curveball (at the same time, I don't lament I'm one year closer to the grave; as I can't wait to
be on my next adventure
As for a perception change, my other favorite memory was when I went to Detroit for an interview. Me coming from a farm-based community, before the
interview Detroit was not a place that we were supposed to go. When I went down there, I was very apprehensive, being in the minority so to speak.
Needless to say, I got lost after parking my car, and was left to wander the streets, looking for where I was supposed to be.
As I was searching downtown Detroit for my interview spot, I noticed there was a typical "thug" watching me (I look back now and smack my past self
for thinking that) - he was dressed in a dark muscle tee shirt, tattoos all over the exposed parts, and a menacing scowl on his face. He asked if I
was lost, to which I meekly affirmed. I told him the name of the building I was looking for, and in a normal voice, he gave me the directions to get
there. - Learned a life lesson that day: Gold doesn't need to be shiny to be gold.
PS: To change the world, you need to make sure everyone can ditch their egos and understand why another person acts the way they do. Very few "bad"
people will come out and go "Mwwwhahahaha, I am the most evil bad-butt that existed on the face of the earth!!!" - Most believe that they are doing
some form of "good" which is perceived as "evil" by another person. If they stopped for one moment, and actually thought about how the others felt
about their actions, maybe there would be a bit less hate in the world. Short example: I remember hearing my grandparents tell stories about how in
one of the World Wars, German & American troops did a kind of "ceasefire" so that both could celebrate Christmas. The American side sent over coffee
to the Germans, and the Germans sent over sausage to the American side. This was one of the times where the other side (the enemy) actually realized
that the people they are fighting are on the same "side": They are fighting for their country, and didn't actually "hate" one another. If more
people had that kind of mentality, that we are both fighting for the same cause (shame our politicians in the US can't realize that), then maybe
progress as a whole could be made.