sorry to play the greek philosopher card, but socrates is credited for saying that an unexamined life is not worth living, and that all he knew was that he knew nothing. since as far as i can tell left his own writings, these thoughts and/or statements were written down by others and credited, in effect it's second hand at best.
i have been many things in my life, my beliefs and understanding of/for life, the universe, and everything (where everything could be substituted for a higher power) had evolved over the years.
i don't think that i was ever truly an atheist, agnostic might be a better term, existentialist could be applied as well i suppose. i used to half-joke that it never was a matter of not believing in god, that the problem was him not believing in me, and that yelling at god was like yelling at your shadow, the only difference is that you know you're shadow is actually there.
a self-examined life, being aware of why you do what you do, why you behave the ways that you behave. it is (for me at least) however, very easy to fall into that trap, where you question every motive, agonize over every decision and ask if only... questions like are you a good person with some bad flaws or a bad person with some good traits, these were my thoughts of my late teen years and most if not all of my twenties.
mostly at that point i was trying to shut my brain off, or at least quiet it as best as i was able, but that's a story for another day maybe.
these days, i take inventory, i sort the useful from the useless, the healthy form the unhealthy, as opposed to terms like good or bad, then try to reconcile them and integrate them. i am so tired of reacting rather than planning, of being someone that things happen to as opposed to things happening for. i am tired of fighting everything.
these are the things that i'm looking at, without that old mindset where it is so very easy to fall into that oddly comfortable pain of self pity, of self-loathing, that navel-gazing mindset, that defeatist and pessimistic attitude.
i am a product of my experiences, who i am is due to what i did and there is nothing i can do about that, but i'm coming to realize that i don't have to define my future by those same choices, events, whatever... you get the idea.