QUIZ: What’s the meaning of your life?

Because if the current crisis in our country isn’t enough, why not add an existential one too?

Browsing through Twitter, NY Magazine shared the link to Emily Esfahani Smith quiz “What Makes Your Life Meaningful?” based off her book The Power of Meaning. So I decided, yeah, two in the morning was the perfect time to find out my life’s purpose. Luckily, the quiz said what I really needed to hear.

NY Mag writers Melissa Dahl and Allyson Young shared the quiz and that it came as a result of Smith’s research for her book. “The Power of Meaning” looks at how the inherent search to be happy actually ends up being more of a downer for our well-being. In an older NY Mag article she wrote along with Jennifer Aaker, Smith explains more about her research into how finding the meaning in our relationships, careers, and even hobbies. What sounds like a simple mandate, but Smith found through various studies it’s much easier said than done.

When we’re constantly told to be happy, look out for ourselves, and “self-care,” I personally find a hard time finding the balance between keeping myself sane and fighting off the guilt of laziness. I feel like I shouldn’t be watching a TV show I really enjoy, reading a book, or going out to eat when I know I need to be doing other things. But after reading about some of the studies Smith writes about, I realized that “radical self care” isn’t about ignoring responsibilities or writing off my procrastination as “self care” — it’s really about finding meaningful ways for me to step back and figure out how I can feel myself again.

Our goal this coming year shouldn’t just be happiness. Our goal should be meaningfulness. Instead of picking projects, hobbies, and relationships based on how happy they will make us, let’s focus on those things that make our lives more significant and worthwhile. If happiness ensues, great. But if it doesn’t, we can still take comfort in knowing that our lives matter and are contributing to the world in some way.

To follow up a few weeks after the book’s debut, NY Mag included some of the core research from Smith’s findings, including the four “pillars” most people lean on to find meaning in their lives: belonging, purpose, narrative, and transcendence. The fully integrated quiz is live on the website, and takes only a few minutes. And at two in the morning, it’s exactly what you need to hear.

And in case you’re wondering, mine is Storytelling —