Don’t Just Exist – Live Your Life!

Don’t Just Exist - Live Your Life!You might believe in life after death but do you believe in life before death? Don’t just exist… Live your life!

One of my favorite quotes by author Jack London says, “The proper function of man is to live, not to exist.” When I first read that line many years ago, admittedly, I was just existing and had forgotten how to truly live.

Reading that quote, I remember sensing that there was so much more I wanted to do in my life but I was not clear on exactly what that was or what it might look like. What I did know was that I indeed only existed and that I was in fact a very long way from what I would consider living or having a life. I was unhappy, ultimately unchallenged, and bored with life.

I was caught up in “shoulding” all over my life. Doing everything that I thought I “should” be doing instead of being on a path that made sense to me and giving me purpose and joy in life. I was making a living but I certainly was not having a life and the life that I was living resembled anything but freedom. Existing… not living…

You might be wondering what the difference between living and existing is. Here are some examples that might clarify it for you…

Living is being able to find joy and humor in every day life and smiling often whereas existing is going through the day with barely a smile.

Living is approaching your work life with passion and enthusiasm, existing is turning up everyday only to collect a paycheck.

Living is having clear, meaningful goals to work towards; existing is wandering aimlessly through life.

I think you get the idea but how do you live your life instead of just existing?

Good question!

First, begin to appreciate the great people and things in your life. Try being thankful every day for what you have in your life and all of the wonderful people who love and support you.

Secondly, ditch your negativity and ignore other people’s negativity. You are the sum total of the five people closest to you in your life. If you are surrounded by negativity and it is a constant from within your peer group, you have two choices. Either ignore their negativity altogether or figure out a way to bring more positive people into your life.

Be who you really are and live your truth. Back when I read that Jack London quote it shook me to my core as I did not know who I was anymore and I also had no idea how to be me or what I really wanted in life. You can’t live your life trying to be someone else, or living by another person’s agenda. Be your authentic self, always.

Embrace change and enjoy your life as it unfolds. I used to always have a problem facing any change in life. I was on a trip once and one of my companions told me “life is a mystery to be lived, not a problem to be solved.” That really put change into perspective for me. Change is going to happen in life whether we like it or not. In fact, the only constant in life IS change.

Be willing to let go of things when you must. Life is not always about trying to fix something that’s broken. Some relationships and situations just can’t be fixed. If you try to force them back together, things will only get worse. Sometimes it’s about starting over and creating something better. Strength shows not only in the ability to persist, but in the ability to start over again with a smile on your face and passion in your heart.

Don’t just exist… live YOUR life! Live your life on your terms and in a way that makes sense to you. Step out of your comfort zone a little bit. Do something different today than you did yesterday, and do something different tomorrow that you couldn’t or wouldn’t do today.

Live your life because when it comes right down to it… in the end… YOU are going to be the only one one YOUR deathbed… not anyone else. It is your life to live so live it; every day.

Andy Wooten M.A. Counseling – Certified Life Coach – Aspen, Colorado

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Photo By Andy Wooten 11 August 2007

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