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#500: Tolerating Life or Living It?

Thursday, July 28, 2011

"People are always getting ready to live but never living." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

In one of her recent blogs SPARKIE1964 innocently asked what has turned out to be for me a probing question:

"Are you tolerating life or are you living it?"

The other day I drove along one of our area's major streets on my way to give a blood sample in advance of this coming Monday's doctor appointment. It was a road I have traveled often in the 30 years I've lived here. That day though what kept hammering at my mind during the drive was, "Is this all there is? Is this my destiny to live here the rest of my live? Am I simply tolerating life or living it?"

I wasn't happy with the answer: "Tolerating it."

While it may be unrealistic to live a life where we are happy and totally fulfilled every moment from when we awake in the morning to when we lie down to sleep at night, it seemed to me right then that there should be more happy and fulfilling moments, that much of my life is repetitious and gray. Does yours ever feel the same?

Is this attributable to depression, fearing mortality, boredom, loneliness, not yet finding a passion, a zeal? I'm not sure. But I do know many of us yearn for something, anything, exciting to happen in our lives. Yes, winning the lottery would do it. But what else? Any ideas? What revs up the passion in your life? What do you yearn for?

Are you tolerating life or living it?
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I teeter between tolerating and living my life, but I think I live more of it than I tolerate the last several years. Wisdom does come with age!

    3498 days ago
    I been tolerating life. There seems to be always something to deal with or to fix.

    3500 days ago
    Thanks for sharing these thoughts Lou. I feel your struggle. I would say I teeter between the two. Leaning to tolerating more than living it... :(

    Try, try as I might. Something or someone always rains on my parade. Yup, they say its how you handle life that makes you who you are!

    Apparently I suck than.
    3500 days ago
  • LESLIES537
    Excellent question. Very thought provoking. emoticon
    3503 days ago
    I have been asking this question to myself for a bit now. I believe i'm tolerating it right now. I say I want to start living it but am I? Nope. Just going through the motions and getting through each day. If i'm truly honest with myself i'm not enjoything the life i'm living right now. I want more, more of what i'm not sure. Not posessions, if anything i'm at the age of less is more, so maybe it is more excitement. I just have to get up and go out and find it.
    3503 days ago
  • TEDYBEAR2838
    I think I"m in the middle, although I would like to be living it!
    3503 days ago
    Many times I feel I am living the life I was meant to live. Other days I wish thee was more. But I have learned to be content no matter where I find myself. Life could always be better or worse.
    3504 days ago
  • CHARMIN944
    Lou, this is something I've been struggling with for years. Since my husband and son passed away, I've been tolerating life. I don't like living this way. I'm going through clinical depression and major physical health issues. That keeps me limited. But I have a fire deep down inside me that's going to push past this. It has to. I'm too young to keep living this way.
    3504 days ago
  • no profile photo CD5178852
    Blog 500! What a keeper. I have to keep myself busy at crafts and visiting people to stop the woe-is-me's.

    I look to sunshiney days, little chirping birds and the smell of the winds.

    Is that all there is? For me, I stuff that down so often that I rarely examine the question.
    3504 days ago
    Lou, I go back and forth, up and down. It seems part of my life I'm tolerating it, part of it I'm living it. I guess that's why people say that our outlook is a choice. On the other hand, I do think it may have something to do with depression, because when I am struggling with depression, it seems as if there is no choice and tolerating it seems forced upon me.

    I'm sure that makes not much sense at all! I much prefer Missy's comment!

    3504 days ago
    Lou, thank you for posting this thought-provoking blog. And I appreciate, too, the comments others have made. I think I need to examine my life to answer your question. I know at times I'm living my life, but am I really LIVING my life?

    Thanks, again, Lou.
    3504 days ago
  • no profile photo CD6035648
    I know that I have been just "tolerating" life these past few years, basically since my mom was diagnosed with cancer. Getting up, going through the motions, pretending to be happy and upbeat, trying to stay strong and positive for everyone else, when the truth of the matter was, on the inside I was crying.. I wasn't living for me, I was living for everyone else, taking care of my mom, my dad, my kids, their house, my house.. Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't have traded taking care of my mom and my dad for anything. The time I spent with them I will treasure always, but it came at a huge price, emotionally, physically, and financially. The only thing that kept me going during that time was my faith in God.
    Yesterday was a turning point for me. I took my son up to the local college to register for classes, and before I knew it, I was talking to an advisor myself, filling out the application form and registering for class for me! What peace and joy I had yesterday, finally for the first time in years! I've been walking around in a fog of mourning, grief and despair this past month since my dad died. I was so lost, I can't even put it in to words. As I sat there waiting for my son, watching all these young kids making plans for their lives, the very thing you talked about came in to my head.. What are you going to do for the rest of your life? Are you going to finally live it or sit here just simply tolerating it? I've talked about going to nursing school a lot these past few years, and granted, I just didn't have the time with taking care of my parents and everyone else.. My norm would be to just "talk" about it, and not do a thing. I know the Spirit filled me yesterday..I don't even remember getting up from the chair, I just found myself talking to an advisor!
    This morning I woke up filled with such hope and excitement for the future. It's unlike anything I've ever felt in such a long time.. What a difference!! No more just tolerating life anymore. I want to live, and live it to the fullest!
    3504 days ago
  • NATALIE225
    I love this blog. I can honestly say that I'm someone who lives life. Sure, there might be moments when all you can do is tolerate it (we all have bad days, weeks, or even months), but overall I live life to the fullest and enjoy every moment.

    I think too many people suffer from "someday" syndrome. Someday I'm going to be healthier. Someday I'm going to have a nicer home. Someday I'll have a better job. Someday I'll take that trip. Whenever people say these things to me I ask them, "Why not start today?" Sure, some of these things can't be done overnight. You need to plan. SP is all about setting goals for our health, but people should do this in other aspects of their life as well. Instead of questioning "if" we can do something, people should focus on "how" they can make things happen. In my opinion it largely comes down to attitude.

    One example from my personal life is that I love to travel. It's a huge passion of mine. I never traveled a lot when I was younger. After high school I went straight to college and didn't have many international travel opportunities there either. So I decided I wanted to take a backpacking trip when I graduated. It took me 2 years to save for the trip and I had to work 2 jobs my senior year of college to save enough money, but it was totally worth it. I remember being on the train in Switzerland and looking out the window at the beautiful landscape and being amazed that I had made that trip happen. It took a lot of hard work and I had to get over my fear of trying something new and challenging. But it also gave me the confidence and the assurance that I could do anything in life that I put my mind to. It was an invaluable lesson. I wish more people would take advantage of their hopes and dreams, whatever they may be. I think we'd all be much happier if we stopped holding ourselves back.
    3504 days ago
    right now I think I need to visit that question again. I agree in my heart with Yatmama, but right now if I am honest, I am just gritting my teeth and tolerating it.

    thought provoking
    3504 days ago
    I think it's a combination of all those things you've listed - mortality, etc. This is a timely blog. After dealing with the loss of 10 loved ones (friends and family members) in the past 4 years, plus my own personal bumps in the road, I am lucky to even be tolerating life. That is, my grief process has been very awful and am now just beginning to feel free of it. However, the person that remains is a new one and I am trying to figure out what's next. It's an existential crisis of sorts. Also, I've done so much in my life, that this period of what's next is a matter of peace and not having to do anything. Just be. For now, that's the best I can do.
    3504 days ago
  • BOVEY63
    I have to give that some thought, but my initial response was that it changes from day to day. It really is a good question to ponder.

    3504 days ago
    I think we all have the same basic needs, to be loved and to feel we are needed. When we have those things, life is so much easier. Sure, we all go through times of "tolerating" it, but there are so many other times when it is so much MORE than just tolerating it. Each day is loaded withn opportunities, as you have shown us in so many of your blogs. There is so much out there!
    3504 days ago
    I am living life now, but there was a time when merely surviving it was the very best I could do. There were enormous negative and destructive influences that bore down upon me so hard that at times I felt I would suffocate. I felt I was sinking in someone else's quicksand. I had little hope. It took some drastic changes for me to finally find myself again. Some relationships had to be severed and new ones forged before I began to feel whole again, safe. One thing I learned to be true, and it is directly out of the bible: it is not good for man to be alone. We have need of one another. We need to know and be known. We need to both reveal ourselves and discover others. We have an innate need to express ourselves and to listen to others. For me, it was very much a matter of relationships. For others, it may be locations, careers, affiliations, bank balances, acclaim, prestige, power. Finding out what it takes to make you whole and going after it, I guess, is the bottom line.
    3504 days ago
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