Mimi this is a fantastic perspective to take, in my opinion the mark of the most highly developed minds is an altruistic drive.
The question you ask here, “how can I help” is both easy and challenging. Easy in the sense that there are millions of ways to help all around us, and difficult because of the challenge of choosing one(s) that we feel is most effective. This is something I’ll be exploring in depth in my writing on medium for sure, after I develop the arguments that lead to altruism in the first place, which, as you know, is not on most peoples' minds. It’s actually quite difficult to convince someone that this is a worthwhile life goal, as the self is usually much more of a concern than others.
Either way let me at least throw out some pieces of something that maybe you can think about. One way to help is get other people to think about anything other than their own happiness through material means. While challenging, if you work to get even just one person to shift perspective, their actions for the rest of their life goes towards something good, which is an amazing change and a huge impact.
Another is to take a very close look at your own basic needs. For example, do you spend more money than is necessary on things you don’t need? How do you justify your own spending? As you start taking a closer look at this stuff and cutting it down, you’ll find that you have extra money that can be out toward a cause. It doesn’t have to be billions, even just a couple dollars can help to feed someone who doesn’t have the resources to get food themselves. Every little bit counts. And by slimming down your own lifestyle, you make a graceful exit from a very materialistic culture and serve as an example for others that stuff is simply not necessary to be happy and fulfilled.
To add to the above, you can also think more thoroughly about your purchases. For example, do you buy products from companies that abuse workers in the third world? Do you buy food from corporations that abuse and torture animals in order to get lower prices? Does your engagement ring even come from a tyrannical corporation that abuses people in Africa? It might cost more, require more research, and sometimes hurt more to stand up for ethics, but it shows that you are a good person and that you care and makes even your purchases for yourself stand for something good.
Another way is through your work. Many people consider work just to be a means to make money, or get caught up in bubbles in which they are helping people, but those people really do not actually need any more help. There are lots of companies that are doing work to help people who need it, or to develop infrastructure for this purpose. You worked at one of them in the past haha. Even if it’s not full time, you can always contribute your brain and skills to a cause you believe in.
Finally, you can teach your kids. Don’t try to shelter them from the world, that’s bullshit. They are going to find out that everything isn’t sweet first world butterflies and puffy blankets. Use yourself as an example of someone who understands that they are super fortunate to be where they are and have the resources they do, and who gives back to people in need. Show them the people in need and how hard it is for them. Children’s minds are moldable, especially by parents, and this is your chance to forge a human being that is kind, generous, and altruistic. Don’t let it go to waste!
The more you think about it the more you will realize how easy it is to shape every part of your life around a goal to help others and to make the world a better place. If you truly believe this, if it is a core and driving value for you, I know you will find a way. And I’m excited to read about your progress on what is a long but noble and very fulfilling journey to the real “meaning of life” 😊