Living vs. Existing

I recently watched the movie “The Family that Preys” and there is a line in the movie that stuck with me.

“Are you living or are you existing?”

It’s a powerful line. It’s a powerful question. When you stop and ask yourself if you’re getting the most out of life or just getting by, it can bring to light a lot of other questions that were simply overlooked or, more poignantly, purposefully ignored.

There is no doubt in my mind I’ve lived a lifetime in the past six years. I’ve experienced so much, met a world of wonderful people, and discovered so many new things, mostly about myself. It’s amazing and such a blessing, and I am so grateful to God for guiding me through those tough times that preceded my personal renaissance.

Still, I find myself sitting here weighing so many different options and questioning just about everything. My confidence is rattled, my ability to deliver is faded, and I wonder if I can just step back from the living into the invisibility and anonymity of existing. For the first time in a long time, I am questioning my core. The depth of contemplation is cutting and real, and at this moment I simply don’t know what to do.

Well, I know prayer is the answer. Prayer and time. Still, it’s hard to be patient when you feel like you’re free falling and you just want to grab onto something to make it stop. Put another way, I know the lights will eventually come back on, but I don’t like sitting in the dark until they do. And with the uncertainty comes my irrational tendency to revert to “*shrug* Fuck it!” mode.

Am I going to finish writing that book? *shrug* Fuck it!
Am I going to finish remodeling the office? *shrug* Fuck it!
Am I going to make amends and try to be better? *shrug* ……

After all, I only need myself, right? Don’t worry. We all know that question is rhetorical … and idiotic.

The thing about self awareness is how it can at times be a swift punch to the gut. As I sit here and reflect and contemplate, I’ve got nowhere else to run. Through all the mental reasoning and justification, after building wall upon wall to hide behind, I am sitting here staring at this fortress I’ve constructed as a form of protection and all I see is how flimsy and transparent it is.

It’s the ostrich mentality. If I can just fade into existence and not have to deal with the noise that comes with living, it will all be okay. Meanwhile, as I proverbially bury my head in the sand, all I’ve done is stuck my ass further into the air. It’s not a matter of giving up because I know – in my brief moments of rationality – that giving up is not an option. It’s the fact I considered it to begin with that scares me.

Life can be overwhelming at times and I guess it’s our ability to persevere that helps define who we are. But persevering is never easy. It’s never exactly comfortable. It’s almost always a challenge that requires mental focus and the ability to absorb the bad in order to get to the good. It’s stepping out of the shoulder of just existing into the high-speed lane of living. I guess I just have to remember that I am capable of keeping up.

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