Living or Existing

Are you living or existing? Are you working to make a living? Are you existing to live? Are you living to exist?

Odd questions with perplexing answers. Most of us would agree that we work so that we can live the life we choose. We work so we can enjoy the fruits of our labor, whatever they might be. We also work to provide a constant income for food, shelter, transportation and other life essentials.

A deeper question might be, why this job? How did I get here and do I even like it? Job by mere definition is (1) the work that a person does regularly in order to earn money; (2) a duty, task, or function that someone or something has; (3) something that requires very great effort. The first thing that pops out me to is that there is no mention of someone’s like or dislike to perform a job. Data does show that people performing jobs they like are more apt to perform at higher levels; however, that is not the only motivating factor. Reasons why individuals work jobs and stay for periods of time vary greatly depending on their specific needs at the time. I can only offer my own experiences as evidence regarding the subject matter of existing or living, my hope is to provide a small piece of insight to someone who might be asking the question.

I have spent four decades working a variety of jobs, it has at times been educational, humiliating, rewarding, painful, and repetitive along the way. Each job prepared me for the next, though I did not realize that at the time. Sometimes when we are young we have a clear picture in our minds of what we want to do with our lives, the exact profession we want to pursue and sometimes it’s a work in progress. There’s no right answers but more importantly there’s no wrong answers. It’s all part of the learning process. I’m reminded of my senior year in college, my last hurdle before graduation was to complete my student teaching in order to receive my teaching credentials. I was terrified, I didn’t think I could do it. Facing middle school kids and high school students in the gymnasium…I thought I would literally die! I was blessed with wonderful students and extremely patient and caring mentors that helped me succeed. One thing that I can say now and believe with every part of my being is this…Life is hard! Not impossible! But hard. As I look back on the jobs I have done I can honestly say I’ve learned so much more than the skills to do them, I’ve learned about myself and that’s the best part. My career choice looks vastly different from its humble beginning and I couldn’t be happier about that. My teaching degree has helped me in ways I never imagined possible and my career path is filled with detours, stops and starts and I am so grateful for all of it. Looking back I can see that I existed and more importantly I can see I lived. I recently heard someone say, “you can’t live in the past.” True enough, the same is true about the future. We only have today, yesterday is a memory and tomorrow a dream, always a day away. Don’t settle for either living or existing, you can have both by living in the present…

When we shed the pretenses of who we are and what others expect from us we are the truest form of ourselves. Life is hard and life is short, be the best you, you can be. Happiness comes from within, no one can give it to you and you do not have the power to make someone else happy. Do yourself a favor today, choose happiness for yourself.

My prayer is that you know you are alive and worthy of love and happiness. As I said no one can give you happiness, I know someone who can give you more than happiness, Jesus can give you life eternal. Jesus loves you! Amen.
“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.“Romans 10:9-10

“…It may be that the gulfs will wash us down:
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.
Tho’ much is taken, much abides; and tho’
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.
~By Alfred Lord Tennyson

~Blessings and Peace~