Meaningful life doesn't necessarily mean having meaningful job, unless work is the most important thing in your life and that's the basis on which you define your sense of self and self-worth. The thing with meaningful life is that it's not just about what you do during job time unless your job is your life. It's about how the job time affects all the other time also.I am eager to hear from people also implementing or considering a life plan of any kind right now. What are you doing?
First off, you have to define what gives you meaning and purpose. For me, it's growth, creating empowering relationships, contribution and a few other things. It seems like the work oriented people use their job as the main area to find those things that give them purpose. And they use their non-work hours for enjoyment (play video games, watch tv) and do activities that are fun but don't necessarily have meaning or purpose behind in it.
I'm more non-work oriented. I use the 8 hours at work for enjoyment. I enjoy programming. It's fun but it's not particularly meaningful just like going to a concert isn't particularly meaningful. I enjoy spending time with my co-workers. I enjoy talking to my bosses. But that's really more about the company than it is about the actual work I do.
I use my non-work hours as my main area for purpose and meaning. For growth, I travel, I read non-fiction, I spend time studying personal development, I read research, I do things outside my comfort zone. For empowering relationships, I make sure that the time I spend with my wife, my children and my friends gets us closer to the life we want to create. For example, I have a friend who studying to be an electrician but hasn't had many opportunities. So I'm hiring her to fix three light sockets in my bathroom that are no longer working. She gets experience and I get to live another day electrocution-free. For contribution, I help out the people in my life in small ways like I'm teaching a friend how to build and fix computers.
I do try to grow, create empowering relationships and contribute at work in little ways. But doing so in a big way would require me to move to a position with more responsibility which would mean more time and more energy away from my non-work hours. The life I want is not the life where I my work hours take all my energy and I come home to family and the activities I find meaningful, all stressed and drained. This is one of the reason why I never started my own business, even when I was single. I didn't want to come home too drained to write.
Creating a meaningful life is more than just creating meaningful work. You've mentioned your ideas for finding meaning during your work hours. What's your idea for meaningful non-work hours? You've gotten paid well so you should have adequate financial resources to be able to create non-work time full of meaning and purpose. Do you think shifting that energy and focus to work, detracts from the energy and purpose you put into non-work hours?