Sigh. Alright, we're here again pondering the meaning of life. I halfway hate myself when I think about these issues because I sound irritatingly like some angsty teenager, but in reality people don't typically figure it out to any real satisfaction, they just ignore it by embracing one distraction after another. Perhaps that's easier to do as an adult when there are more practical concerns (whether necessary or artificial) which can serve as distractions. But in any event this issue should bother people right down to their very being, whether they go to highschool or can drink alcohol legally.
Of course nobody really knows the answer but there are a two basic approaches: one, that there is no point and the only "goal" is to make yourself as fulfilling a life experience as you can - however you define that for yourself. Or two, there is a point and the ideal is to match your goals to be in proper accordance with that point - however you understand the point to be.
Obviously you can see the basic self-centered vs externally centered foci between the approaches. There's a value judgement there that makes (at least) me feel that selfish concerns should not be the ends of one's existence, but that hardly serves as a point of fact to base a conclusion on. I go back and forth on this issue - often several times a day. That is, when I'm not distracted. When I'm feeling idealistic and moralistic I find myself leaning towards there being a reason for existence - where what we do matters, where our choices and the effects of our choices matter beyond how they make us feel. In those times I feel encouraged to pursue an active course of bettering the world, fighting for causes, conscientiously intervening in things gone wrong.
But then there are other times when I think that everything I know and everyone who knows me will be gone and lost and long forgotten by some not-too-distant future time. So I feel fatalistic and disinclined to make an effort to change anything at all. Kohelet. Humanity is filled with the wretched, the poor, the liars, the hypocrites; persecuters and the persecuted - all destined to die after a few short years, why work yourself up about it? This has been the staus quo for virtually all of human history and there is little sign of it changing. I'm constantly amazed at how far we've gone and how we've survived so long when there is so many WRONGS in how people do things. Our public institutions reek of intrigue and scandals. Our private lives fill the newspapers with crime and senselessness. Civilization itself may just be a bubble waiting to burst. Is anything worth fighting for?
In the end I make the conscious decision to live as though there is a point. But in my heart the battle wages and I fear that the other side - the void of fatalism and selfish nihilism - may take the field.