Since the beginning of time, man has been searching for "the meaning of life" an age old question, to which there still appears to be no definitive answer, and more than likely never will be. Philosophers, people of deep religious belief, scientists and even Britain's comic Monty Python have all searched in vain. Life isn't easy, whether like me you suffer chronic disease, or if you are blessed with good health, you no doubt have other worries and difficulties that test your resilience. Each generation meets different challenges, yet the fundamental question remains. Why are we here, and what are we supposed to be doing?
I once heard a chef say, "The meaning of life is butter." and as ridiculous as this may sound, almost flippant without any deep philosophical significance or foundation, I suddenly understood what he meant. Butter; a rich creamy product, summons up a vision of home, warm memories, food for the soul, hot buttered toast, or delicious sauces; it has been one of the basic staples in our homes for thousands of years. In my kitchen, rule number one, use butter. Rule number two, use more butter. Rule number three, you can never have too much butter! I hasten to add I don't have a cholesterol problem, but for those of you who do, I strongly urge you to please ignore my "kitchen rules"!
I think we'd all wish our lives to be like butter; rich, fulfilling and spreading smoothly over the years, uncomplicated with humble ingredients. A simple staple of life that is basic yet comforting and wholesome. However life is rarely as simple as butter, for we get caught up in some kind of frantic time warp that leaves us with little or no time to enjoy and appreciate the simple pleasures that life has to offer. The joy of holding your own baby for the first time or becoming a grandparent, the first rain of the season, a new bud that blossoms into a flower, the warmth and care of family around you, spontaneous visits from good friends, the distinct smell of freshly cut grass, percolating coffee announcing morning has arrived, delicious chocolate that satisfyingly melts in your mouth, the celebratory sound of a champagne cork popping, a long lingering kiss, holding hands with the one you love and a myriad of delightful memories that you treasure. All these relatively simple small pleasures that bring us joy every day, sometimes get overlooked.
It is only natural that one strives to be successful in whatever chosen career, and is driven with determination and ambition sometimes to the detriment of one's health and family. People are captured by today's trend of owning the latest and best gadgets, and consumed by fashion which is generally paraded by young models who depict far from normal or healthy figures. We are mesmerised by the rich and famous who flaunt their shallow outrageous lives everywhere we look, and try to keep up with the fast pace and demanding life style of our modern world where technology races along at a continuing alarming speed. Amongst all this chaos that wraps around us enveloping any sense of value, which society has sadly become accustomed to, do you find yourself forgetting to stop and smell the roses?
A charming film starring Queen Latifa and Gérard Depardieu called "Last Holiday" depicts this very idea. Given only weeks to live, a woman decides to drop everything and begin to really "live" every last moment she has, only to find a few weeks later, her hospital test results were mixed up and she in fact has a long life ahead of her. By this time, she has found what is valuable, how to enjoy every moment and hence discovers the meaning of life.
Often it takes a "wake up call" such as a life changing experience to make us stop and pay attention, reassessing our lives. It may be losing someone dear, or diagnosis of a serious illness that finally allows us to understand, how life is fragile and precious. From losing two brothers far too soon, and suffering two chronic diseases (to which there is no cure at present) I have been given the ability to see life in a completely different light. In my humble opinion, I believe the meaning of life, is realising what is important and what is not, appreciating the small joys that are bestowed upon is, even if it is simply savouring the luscious rich taste of butter.
So in conclusion, I have adopted what the chef said, who's name escapes me, "The meaning of life is butter". Who knows, maybe he's right and it's as simple as this!