Reevaluating the Meaning of Life in Ukraine

Polina BortnovskaJanuary 15, 2024Finding Meaning

Finding meaning requires an individual approach. Every person is unique and different and our lives are a gift that offer us loads of opportunities, which we can use to the fullest and probably more. Finding meaning makes our lives more interesting and valuable. We’re constantly developing and looking for solutions to the problems we face. Maybe this is the meaning of life – to set goals, move forward, strive for something bigger, not forget about our own desires, and be useful in other people’s lives. It does not mean that everyone must have the same attitudes to life; each of us has our own way, which changes with age and life situations. I think that sense of life also depends on living conditions, education, genetics, and most of all state of mind. Ukrainian people, like individuals from any other culture, find meaning in their lives through a variety of ways influenced by their personal beliefs, values, and experiences.

The majority of Ukrainians equate their sense of life to family, because a family is people who take care of you, help you, support you, and show you their real love. Other people focus all their strength on their successful careers. For many Ukrainians, the sense of their life is friends, relatives, soulmates. Someone chooses to help others as the meaning of life and become a benefactor or volunteer. For someone else, it can be a favorite thing, a hobby, or studying. In our country everyone has the right and opportunity to determine for themselves what is most important in life. Each person chooses a goal and achieves it by all means.

But everything changed on February 24, 2022, when Russia started a war against our country. The war has changed the attitude of Ukrainians to the meaning of life and is still causing much pain and trials. The death of relatives or friends, loss of home, forced emigration, separation – all these troubles have shaken the normal life of Ukrainians. We began to appreciate things that we had not even noticed before, for example a sense of safety, calm, and comfort. The war took away our sense of lightness; we are not able to control what is happening. The war changed our usual daily routines and our ability to plan for the future, so we started to live here and now, be strong and sometimes weak. The war took away the opportunity to meet friends and spend our free time as we would like to. The war took away the opportunity to travel and return back to favorite destinations. These cruel conditions dictate what we should do and force us to reevaluate the meaning of life. Ukrainians are leaving their families and choosing to be volunteers, to come to the front, to defend Ukraine against Russian aggression, join territorial defense, learn to provide medical treatment for the injured, engage in charity, save animals, support the military, and help the army. Even Ukrainian kids send letters and drawings to our soldiers to raise their fighting spirit and mood. You see, when people unite, they can do anything!

Now the meaning of life for Ukrainians is to be involved in helping to win and bring back our previous calm life. Our victory in war is the main national idea and goal, because we understand that war is not the way to the future, it's the way to the destruction of values. No one can take our inner sense of freedom away. People must value life.

Polina comes from Ukraine and enjoys singing a lot. She also likes learning English, listening to music, and dancing. She enjoys playing volleyball with her friends.