ARE YOU LIVING LIFE OR MERELY EXISTING? “WHAT I KNOW FOR SURE”
“The Proper function of man is to live, not to exist.” – Jack London (1876-1916)
I guess it is probably safe to say by now that for the last four years I have found myself existing but not actually living. Living means that you are enjoying life, doing things that you like and that you are chasing your dreams and fulfilling your goals whereas a person who is merely existing means that you are simply breathing while doing the things that you have to do in order to get through each day and thus allowing your emotions like fear and anger to control you.
This has been a particularly tough week for me and my anxiety and depression have crippled me to the point of feeling non-existent. A person who is living has the ability to understand their emotions and not allow them to impede on their choices or determination, to me living means you have purpose, and right now I feel as though I am only existing on the outside of life looking in.
By merely existing places many boundaries and restrictions on someone and believe it or not it takes a lot of effort to do so. Existing like I do each day means being stuck in the past and always worrying about the future. It means not having the capacity to feel what is happening around you in the moment or being able to reach your true potential, simply put, we feel powerless over our emotions.
While I am existing I am left waiting, left searching and left yearning to escape from the loss of control that these powerful emotions have taken from me, wishing that the next breath I grasp will be strong enough to renew my will to live. To exist is to survive from the sidelines but to live is to do more than just survive or gaze upon, it means you are no longer left waiting, no longer left searching and no longer left yearning but instead you are actually leading the way to your own happiness and purpose; leading the way to feeling alive.
So after feeling so defeated by living, how does one learn to break the habit of merely existing? The thing is if I had the answer then I wouldn’t be merely existing. I recently read Oprah’s book titled “What I Know For Sure” which is filled with her inspirational life experiences with great insight and revelation. Oprah is the Queen when it comes to learning how to overcome adversity and hardship and in my eyes she is also the Queen when it comes to living.
This book was super easy to read and so powerful and moving. It was filled with page upon page of wisdom and honesty and chapter upon chapter of how to truly capture the art of living and appreciate its gift in return. I am regularly reading books which will encourage me, inspire me and support me but this book is one that I am sure to return to time and time again in order to instill the value of living life over merely trying to exist in it.