Essay Live

The Best of Our Lives Column

By THE NEW YORK TIMES MAGAZINE

For more than 20 years, The Times Magazine has published Lives, a series of incisive personal essays or as-told-to accounts. Here are some of our favorites.

March 24, 2017, Friday

MORE ON LIVES AND: Writing and Writers

A Disobedient Woman

As told to LAUREN SCHENKMAN

Defying obstacles, and her husband, to pursue an education and a career.

March 24, 2017, Friday

MORE ON LIVES AND: Nicaragua , Women and Girls , Assaults

Putting a Faithful Friend to the Test

As told to DMITRIY FROLOVSKIY

The religion of a companion causes a sectarian split.

March 17, 2017, Friday

MORE ON LIVES AND: Doha (Qatar) , Pakistan , Shiite Muslims , Sunni Muslims , Muslims and Islam , India

Strangers on an 18-Hour Train

By RAFIQ EBRAHIM

Discomfort and deliverance on a long trip through Pakistan.

March 3, 2017, Friday

MORE ON LIVES AND: Karachi (Pakistan)

The Cat Named Morphine

By SANDOR JASZBERENYI

Allaying suspicions on the Ukrainian front, with some unexpected assistance.

February 17, 2017, Friday

MORE ON LIVES AND: Cats , Ukraine , Crimea (Ukraine)

An Iraqi Immigrant’s Unexpected Role

As told to CYNTHIA AGUSTIN

Getting started in the United States means living through some surprises.

February 10, 2017, Friday

MORE ON LIVES AND: Surgery and Surgeons , Meat Packers and Butchers , Iraq , New York State

Motorcycling Without the Mansplaining

By LILY BROOKS-DALTON

Zen and the art of managing comments about your crew of women riders.

January 13, 2017, Friday

MORE ON LIVES AND: Motorcycles, Motor Bikes and Motorscooters , Women and Girls , Canada , Vancouver Island (British Columbia)

Looking for a Friend in Old Age

As told to DMITRIY FROLOVSKIY

At 80, she has spent years alone in her Russian village.

December 30, 2016, Friday

MORE ON LIVES AND: Kazakhstan , Russia , Friendship

How Katherine Dunn Wrote the Cult Novel on So Many Artists’ Bookshelves

By CAITLIN ROPER

She couldn’t have guessed how passionately misfits would embrace ‘‘Geek Love.’’

December 21, 2016, Wednesday

MORE ON LIVES AND: Dunn, Katherine (1945-2016)

What Salvation Looks Like in Jack T. Chick’s Cartoons for Christ

By DAN BARRY

The fundamentalist zealot whose cartoons also inspired underground comics.

December 21, 2016, Wednesday

MORE ON LIVES AND: Chick, Jack T (1924-2016)

Truly Living or Merely Existing Essay

806 Words4 Pages

Truly Living or Merely Existing

 

The terms existing and living, as they apply to human beings, share some basic similarities; however, closer investigation philosophically reveals a very sharp contrast between the two. The American Heritage Dictionary, 6th ed., defines the word existing as "(1)to have actual being; to be real"; "(5) to be present under certain circumstances or in a specified place," and "to occur." Living, on the other hand, means "(5) to conduct one's life in a particular manner"; "(6) to pursue a positive, satisfying existence; to enjoy life." Men and women must be able to do certain things to exist as well as to live, but because they are endowed with the ability to reason, their individual choices…show more content…

Individuals must be able to buy the food and pay for the housing for themselves and their dependents, but they may choose what kind of food to buy or decide where they wish to live. Further, an individual who votes in an election, for example, may exist merely as a statistic while a man or woman really living will take an active part in the election by taking a stand for or against certain issues on the ballot.

 

People who are really living, not simply existing, exhibit a deliberate drive toward the pursuit of some meaning behind their existence. They have decided on, or may be in the process of searching for, some reason to continue to exist. There is conscious thought and the involvement of the will in living. Probably the best way to illustrate this idea is by an example. As my friend, Robert Reese, put it:

 

If I were merely existing, I would get up every morning, go to work, come home, eat, maybe watch some television, go to sleep, then get up the next morning and do it all over again. As it is, I live my life. I have routines, but I don't just exist. I get up every morning, have coffee, maybe run a few miles or work out at the gym, take the time to water my tomato plants, eat some breakfast, go to work, come home, have dinner with my wife, plan our free time together, and so on-I take time out to enjoy life. I have goals. I just got my pilot's license and I

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