Live or Exist

Image by Diane Galvez-ParkerAre you living, or are you existing? This was a question that was addressed at the end of a movie that I recently viewed. Although I have watched it before, I heard the words differently this time. Between getting older, experiencing family deaths in the past couple years, and the recent terrorist attacks in the world, I have been thinking a lot more about my own life expectancy. Do I know what my legacy will be? No. My hope is that somewhere along the way, I made a difference though. That comes to my next thought. I hope that I have lived, rather than just existed.

What does it mean to just exist?

In my opinion, existing means that you have put everyone and everything else above your own needs and desires. You might be saying, “Isn’t it a good thing to be there for others?” Yes, it is. However, do you feel that, most of the time, your life is out of your own control? Do you have a say in what you get to do today, next week, or next month? Are your social events, vacations, health appointments, or bucket list items, dependent on someone else’s schedule? Are others making you feel guilty if you are not there for them? Are you living your own life, or someone else’s?

Things happen. I am aware of that, specifically with health-related issues. Family members may require special care, due to illness or age. Children may be born with special needs. Because of those reasons, I place caregivers in a slightly different category. However, even they need to find some time to refocus and recharge.

What does it mean to live?

It means that you are remembering to take the time to do things that make you happy. Most days, it will probably involve spending quality time with family and/or friends. Other times, it may involve an activity of your own choice, such as reading a book, watching a movie, volunteering, playing a sport, running a marathon, starting a new hobby, or exploring a new location. It simply means that you are choosing how to spend your time.

Life happens. Responsibilities increase, as we get older. Individuals become a couple. Women become mothers. Men become fathers. Parents become grandparents. Adults become employees, and employees become bosses. Now, think about each of those stages. Are you enjoying any of it? Are you taking the time in any of these life events to do something that makes you happy? Think of the phrase, Work hard. Play hard. Are you only working hard?

To live your life means to create your memories now. Find your passion. Take care of your health. Nurture your relationships. Take a vacation. Live your life.

Do any of these sentence starters sound familiar?

After my kids are out of diapers…

When my kids start school…

When my kids are out of school…

When I am done paying for college…

When I finish paying off…

When I retire…

When my grandchildren start school…

When my health gets better…

After I have my surgery…

Before I die…

Are you living now? Are you creating memories? Creating memories for yourself does not have to involve excess spending or faraway destinations. Start small if you need. Just start. You were not born to merely exist. You were born to live.

 

3 Comments

  1. This has come at a perfect time and really hits home. Right now I am living to retire… I have so many things I’m going to do “when I retire.” I know that is not the right attitude to have, but it seems that all my energy is used just getting through the work week. I want that to change. I see so many people doing things and really enjoying life. I need to figure out how to do that more. Help cousin!!! 🙂

  2. Great article Diane. You have definitely lived and still continue to. I really admire you! I am striving to also live my life which you know revolves around family. Continue what you do. Love you.

  3. Great article Diane. You have definitely lived and still continue to do so. I really admire you. I am also striving to live my life which you kbow revolves around family . Continue what you do. Love you.

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