Do you live or exist?

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Published: 4 Nov 2018

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Emotional well-being

Time is important to me. Maybe more so for me than the average person, because of the lifestyle I chose for myself, and the people I have lost along the way. The ‘life can be short and unpredictable’ memo is never far from my mind.

I travel with my work, and live a varied and interesting life, while doing something that helps people as well as floating my personal boat. The added bonus of this lifestyle is that I sometimes spend time that others would see as ‘wasted’, hanging around in hotels, airports, ferry terminals, and generally just waiting. But…….I love the waiting. I do not see it as wasted.

I would go as far as to say that the measure of a man (or woman) is in what they do with these snippets of time.  This weekend for example I drove late night from a speaking gig to sleep on a friends sofa so that I could see her before I flew away the next morning. Then three flights, a bus, and a ferry see me where I’m working next week.  This spare time varies so much, the not knowing is exciting, and I am not frivolous to waste any moment.

A stoic friend of mine sent me an article that she knew would pique my interest recently where the philosopher Seneca talks about the difference between the length of time a person lives as opposed to merely exists.

The article states: “It’s possible to die on your 99th birthday having only lived for a fraction of the life of a particularly inspired and wise 25 year old, or a 98 year old for that matter.”

I couldn’t agree more. Someone very close to me calls these ‘mere exister’s’ ‘filler people’. They exist, but achieve little for themselves or the world. The length of time a person lives is irrelevant if you die  unfulfilled, with your dreams still in you, bound by conformity that says you should do one thing or another at the expense of what you really want to do and who you really want to be with.

In case there is anyone still out there who didn’t get the life is short memo, this is for you. Life can change in a heartbeat. End in a heartbeat. Live boldly. Don’t wait.

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