That is a great question and thank you for asking it. The book of Ecclesiastes is a very different type of book from the others in the Bible. It is written to show us an overarching perspective on life that many people sometimes do not recognize. That is the perspective that life is not something that we can control. The author begins with a statement on how life is like a vapor, or chasing after wind. No matter what we do, it always seems that there is no meaning in the end, because the world spins on, and the universe continues to tick away, and life always comes to an end with no real lasting memory of those that passed before. This is extremely distressing and depressing to think of, but the book has a point, and that point, while mentioned at certain places throughout, culminates at the end of the book.
“Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come and the years draw near of which you will say, “I have no pleasure in them”; before the sun and the light and the moon and the stars are darkened and the clouds return after the rain, in the day when the keepers of the house tremble, and the strong men are bent, and the grinders cease because they are few, and those who look through the windows are dimmed, and the doors on the street are shut—when the sound of the grinding is low, and one rises up at the sound of a bird, and all the daughters of song are brought low—they are afraid also of what is high, and terrors are in the way; the almond tree blossoms, the grasshopper drags itself along, and desire fails, because man is going to his eternal home, and the mourners go about the streets—before the silver cord is snapped, or the golden bowl is broken, or the pitcher is shattered at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern, and the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it. Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher; all is vanity.
Besides being wise, the Preacher also taught the people knowledge, weighing and studying and arranging many proverbs with great care. The Preacher sought to find words of delight, and uprightly he wrote words of truth.
The words of the wise are like goads, and like nails firmly fixed are the collected sayings; they are given by one Shepherd. My son, beware of anything beyond these. Of making many books there is no end, and much study is a weariness of the flesh.
The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.”
This is a lot to take in, but the general idea of this statement is what the author has built towards. Do not be lost to the chasing of the wind in life, and to meaningless pursuits(careers, pleasures, vanities, etc…), for they will fail you. Nor be consumed with the pursuit of knowledge to the point that you drive yourself into the ground, for that will not satisfy you, or help you either. The meaning of life is instead, simple. “Fear God and keep His commandments, this is the whole duty of man.”
Our whole lives will be so much more fulfilled and happy if we first pursue a relationship with our Creator. If we will seek to know Him, serve Him, and follow His guidelines for life, then we will find the only true fulfillment and meaning of life, and all other things will fall into place. We must first relinquish our imagined control in life and trust the only one who truly has any control, God.
I have also included a couple of videos that provide an overview and understanding of the book of Ecclesiastes. These videos are available on YouTube for all the books of the Bible and can be a helpful resource.
I hope that this helps you to find the truth and understanding that God desires for you Kathleen. If you have any other questions then please do not hesitate to ask them. God bless you and thank you.
Overview of Ecclesiastes - The Bible Project
The Wisdom Series - Ecclesiastes - The Bible Project