By Gil Gonzalez
This week’s prompt for Random Writers is to write about the difference between existing and living. For some reason, the first thing that came to my mind was Bugs Bunny.
We’ve all seen it a million times. Bugs pops his head up after having tunneled underground, looks around, scratches his head as if lost, and utters, “I knew I should have taken a left turn in Albuquerque.” This week’s prompt is about the difference between just going somewhere and enjoying the trip along the way.
All too often in life, the pace of the day to day can cause the weeks to blur and the years to pass. For some reason, this effect seems to be exponential the older we get. As a kid, summer breaks were an eternity. As an adult, a week’s vacation tends to be over before it starts.
How is it that we go from the delighted consumption of life as children to a “what’s next?” dismissiveness as adults? At what point does the joy get replaced with the urgency, the little things with the big plan?
To me, existing is easy. You wake up. You go to work. You come home. You have dinner. You go to sleep. Living is just like existing, except that along the way from step 1 to step 10 in your routine, there are moments of meaning that make those steps more than just items on a to-do list. Sometimes it really can be as simple as stopping to smell the roses.
Of course, there’s no “one size fits all” solution to this question. In fact, nothing in life is “one size fits all.” That’s what makes life life. It’s the uniqueness of our own experiences, and what may be living for me can simply be existing for someone else. That’s the beauty of the question, the fact there is no absolute answer.
I watched a presentation recently during which the orator explained how good is the opposite of great. He said we don’t have enough great schools in our country because we have so many good schools. We don’t have as many great moments in our lives because we have so many good moments. This idea really stuck with me, and it got me to thinking of how content I am with all the good in my life, and how that often prevents me from attempting to find greatness in what I do.
So when you ask yourself what the difference is between existing and living, think about all the good things in life that may keep you from being great. I do believe the answer can be found somewhere in there.