I've heard that there are three philosophical approaches to creating meaning in life: the purgative way, the illuminative way, and the transcendent way.
The purgative way is sort of like ongoing self-improvement, but also improvement of the planet in general. People who are crusaders, who crave justice and positive social change, are following the purgative way.
The illuminative way is the way of the artist, poet, writer, storyteller. Through art you seek to illuminate the beauty in all of life, even the dark parts, and in so doing increase knowledge and compassion in the world.
The transcendent way is the way of the seeker, the monk, the philosopher. The idea is to face life's paradoxes and hard problems and find ways to transform and transcend what seems on the surface to be in opposition. In so doing you create peace and knowledge.
The idea (if you choose to accept it--it could be hooey for all I know) is figure out which path you are on and embrace it completely.
It isn't like you get to pick. You just are, and the idea is to make it all conscious and fully consensual. All three paths are equal.