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Living vs Existing



When it comes to analyzing your approach to life, it is quite easy to get carried away by modern tendencies of looking from all possible angles. You have nothing to blame yourself if you decide to take a moment of pause in order to reflect at the true dimension of the complex experience we call life. Verbs of state can be confusing, but there is no doubt that living incorporates the ability to extract joy and satisfaction from every moment, while existence can be used to describe the endless routine of every day.

Our modern times force us to keep the foot on the acceleration pedal all time, in a race to get more money, more superficial experiences, and the validation of others. At the speed that we are travelling through time, the present moment is always allusive, delayed towards an uncertain future. We never really get the chance to acknowledge what we have because there is always at the horizon the prospect of what we might have. Embracing existence means keeping your head straight, away from the speedometer. As the years go by, you are no longer the driver, but a simple passenger, a spectator on a trajectory which was set long ago. On the other hand, living is accessed when you allow yourself to slow down each time things go beyond your control. The relativity of time perception can make even the simplest things a source of infinite joy and happiness.

Despite the ever growing tendencies of calling simple and mediocre those who indulge in simple pleasures, there is no denial that seeking too much complexity, exclusivity, and elaborating each life experience to its maximum potential, can distract your attention from the act of living itself. When that happens, ours senses become numb and require a lot of effort to be stimulated again.

Different people call it in different ways but the general idea is the same. If we keep living existing like this, we are heading towards the big sleep of our civilization faster than the most pessimist scenarios can predict. It is already obvious that we need higher and higher levels of stimulation in order to feel alive. Our movies are crowded by violence, special effects, and emotions exploited to the maximum. Our desires and needs are influenced by aggressive marketing, which ends up creating the internal levers of our own existence. There is no denial that our consume-based society leads toward a lifestyle which is not sustainable not only from an ecological, but also from an emotional point of view. As we fail to feel the void with what is needed to feel alive again, we embrace and accept our personal drama or tragedy as a new source of fuel.

Crossing the line between existence and life is as simple as taking a purposeless walk on a sunny day. You don’t need to have a goal to give back color to life again. Life itself is a goal and acknowledging the wonderful journey we are all taking part is something extraordinary. If life is a bus, what you perceive as destiny is the seat you end up with. It might not be the seat you dreamt of, or you might not have the company you expected from the other passenger, but you do travel the same distance and you are free to choose your own definition of beauty and happiness.

Challenging each and every hour of your life and trying to figure out if you should consider it a part of living or a part of existence might not be exactly the message you should extract from these lines. Making a habit from putting your daily agenda under a magnifying glass is both exhausting and pointless and tends to push the balance in favor of “existing”. There is a special, hard to define flavor attached to “living”, which keeps it away from any attempt of control. Life just happens, like flowing water which fills any indentation in the ground. Nevertheless, questioning from time to time whether you have the auto-pilot set to “existence”, or if you control the steering-wheel of your life, and therefore enjoy “living”, is highly encouraged.

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