What is the meaning of the question?
I am not sure what people seek when they ask about the meaning of life. The question is far too general and could be interpreted in several diferrent ways. Why are we living? What is our purpose? Why are we suffering? Is there a reason for all this? What's the meaning of life, the universe and everything? Where does it end?
I had been pondering through similar questions in the past as much as you did. I think that the primary motives that led me through such ruminations arised from more practical issues in life. I feel that our urge for finding answers comes from our personal worries at first. The more generalized questions follow up later, maybe in a wish to find the ultimate answer connecting everything and showing us in a very simple way the path for a happy and wise life. Sort of that.
The biggest part of our philosophy revolves around humans and their problems. That's quite a primary and universal theme to think about indeed. I've observed that whenever I am in a bad mood, I jump into the routine of overanalyzing various matters of myself and my life till I start wondering about the meaning. The pattern goes like this: Why does my life sucks? => Why do I have to go through all this? => What's the purpose of my suffering? => What's the reason to be alive then? => What's the meaning of life? => What is my role in the universe? => etc. Till I reach the ending point of subjectivity and nihilism.
That's how I end up from my practical problems to the abstract questioning. I think that when someone asks "What's the meaning of life?" he/she actually asks "Why do I have to live this everyday and then die miserably?". Though there are other motives behind the ultimate question too I believe.
Some people try to define the meaning in a diferrent manner. The thinker now doesn't try to find a purpose on our suffering, though the whole search revolves around the definition of the most important aspects of life. Answers like these are: "The meaning of life is: girls, wealth, hapiness, girls, health, girls, the river, the mountain and again girls ;)". Maybe it's the thinker's urge to find what he/she wants more from life, to underline which aspects of it are the most important for him/her and thus follow their own path based on these predefined standards. The motives behind this are very personal and come from the inner desire to set some standards for someone's life. Maybe the meaning reflects our wishes and future plans in life here.
As you can notice in both descriptions (abstract philosophical or practical definitions), the search for a meaning revolves around our personal worries or dreams about life. Thus it is very personalized and diferrent for each one of us. That concludes, it's maybe not a good idea to oblige people to believe in one single universal truth. Perhaps the universal truth is mostly interesting for philosophers even though it's more realistic to seek for small answers in more practical problems rather than the One that explains everything. How stupid it is for us humble humans to actually think that we can move so far in wisdom? Nah..
I once thought that the meaning is to search for my own meaning. How cyclic :P
True for my case. While other people might strongly define their basic aspects of life in order to actually live it, for me the meaning and the path was one and the same thing. As I grew up, my early experiences slowly generated my personality, my suffering defined my focus, and it's the path itself that follows me as I like to say. In the about box, I keep the negativity about what I started to seek since my early years, though the latest data have canceled the fade away ;)
The rediscovery of my OCD case revealed a lot about myself and gave me a new boost, explaining everything properly, from the reasons of my suffering to my obsessive passion that made me follow the narrow but possibly fullfiling path instead of let it go and live a simple life.
It's hard to explain right now, but in a nutshell, my path is a combination of my overthinking, my sad past and the urge to discover inner truths people aren't aware of, with the wish that they will be used to make people know about deviants that suffer and teach them understanding. Since my fifteen, I was aware and accepting of the fact that someone might differ from the rest and that's because I was also diferrent and that had it's costs in a society with some standard aspects of life most "normal" people follow. It was during that time I also thought that because of my case I overanalyzed things a lot and gave them a second thought and somehow I felt that knowing the truth can help people. The focus was quite strange and distorted, though it starts making a sense now I know myself better. The meaning is myself and myself is the meaning. I like how nicely it cycles inside my head :)
This is only the philosophical aspect of my path, the motives and self behind the whole construction of it. I haven't talked about which aspects of life I find more important for me in practice. From Eugenia's post, maybe one and a half applies for me ;). Though, it never happened that I tried to define the meaning of my life this way because I was living the little things without thinking it much. I can't answer that right now. Only the obsessional path is strong and properly defined in me.
What about your own life meaning? It's your own personal meaning and I'll be glad to read and accept it as your own part, which just reflects your own personality I guess. Why can't we accept someone else as he/she is and want that our personal beliefs match other's lives? Why are there people who try to persuade me that I am unhappy for the path I've choosen?
I believe now.