@Riggerjack: what things have been satisfying for Riggerjack? strangely, some of the most satisfying moments in brute's life have actually been understanding things that were previously chaotic or confusing to brute. for example, Austrian Economics was maybe the happiest addition to brute's life beyond Nihilism. just understanding what is going on took all the pressure off. very satisfying.
I find meaning in accomplishment. Basic training has like a quarter million privates running thru each year with a graduation rate of 97+%. out of habit, I reminded myself of that on graduation, but that still didn't put a damper on the deep satisfaction of doing something I was afraid I couldn't. Several times in progress was afraid I would fail. There were very few times in that extremely stressful 8 weeks that were in any way fun, but some of the most intense memories I have were formed there. The nostalgia effect is very strong. While in the service, I was surrounded by folks who had been through what I had, and the satisfaction was somewhat muted. But when I got out, the difference between myself and men my age was pretty staggering. My range of experience was just so much greater than that of my peers. Mostly to the negative side of experience, sure, but there is a strength in knowing that whatever current figurative crap you are wading thru is only ankle deep. When you have swum in it, ankle deep is humorous, rather than horrifying.
Buying a house. I was able to do this because of a VA loan. It seems silly and shallow now, but I grew up a renter, who had been evicted... alot. The difference from homeless and homeowner is immense. Buying a house was both scary (I just signed up for how much debt?!?) and satisfying, in that I now had a place that was mine, that could be modified however I liked. My place of residence was no longer subject to the whim and approval of a landlord. I was a homeowner, at a time in my life when that meant something.
I was just lucky in finding my wife. No skills, work or amazing personal traits involved. It was pure luck, plus effective filtering of internet dating web searching. However, before I met her, I had been with plenty of other ladies. And FCUKED that up. In a variety of ways. And learned from it, different lessons each time. I find satisfaction in being the man who can keep her, and keep her happily. Staying with her is easy, but learning to be that man who can do that involved a lot of pain and development.
My current home. I bought the land, rented the heavy machinery and learned to use it, paid to have a house moved onto it and raised, then I built the daylight basement, installed the utilities, built the road in, etc. The learning curve was steep. And now, when I look at the home around me, I feel enormous satisfaction in that I see all that I worked so hard on.
Do you see the pattern? The things I find satisfying were not in the whole fun, and certainly not easy, but that wasn't the reason to do them.
I'm agnostic atheist, I don't need the heat death of the universe to know that my life has no impact in the bigger scheme, I know that. I have no kids, in 100 years, I might be a story a nephew told his grandchild. Or not. My historical footprint will be medium/small. None of these things in any way rob my life of meaning, in that my life is all about me. Me and mine. Doing right by myself and those around me. Making my little corner of the world a better place, that is satisfying.
I hope that helps.