Question: Does life really have a meaning or do we just try to find a meaning so that we have a reason to live?
Answer: I agree with you that without a purpose, goal it’s meaningless to live, as otherwise we live a simple animalistic life with day to day survival.
Thus most people try to find a meaning, purpose using a combination of the instinctive and social desires/pleasures of food, sex, family, wealth, power and knowledge.
But even these hardly elevate us above the animal level.
Fortunately there is an overall purpose, meaning that Nature’s all-encompassing evolutionary plan defined for us, which can help us justify being Human.
By consciously, purposefully researching and fulfilling our assigned cogwheel role in Natural reality – through finding out mutually complementing role in Humanity – we can fully attain Nature’s perfect, fully integrated system.
By that we become partners with the system, understanding its plan, cause and effect processes as if we ourselves designed, built it.