Read this first: http://chrisguillebeau.com/3×5/worth-living-for/
Thanks Mike. Hopefully this isn’t illegal, but here’s the blog post, stolen directly from Chris Guillebeau:
When I was a kid, I sat in the back of a lot of dramatic, late-night church services.
Often the preacher or evangelist would tell a story about our fellow Christians in Russia, China, or Cuba (communist countries were seemingly interchangeable) being surrounded by soldiers in a church and forced to recant their faith or risk execution.
No matter the details, the story was always followed with a challenge: “Would you be willing to die for your faith?”
Looking back, it’s easy to see how limited this question was. What’s worth dying for? That’s hard to answer—rarely does anyone get a say in how they die and whether it’s for some kind of cause. Most of us just die whenever the time comes around, whether we’re prepared to make some kind of statement or not.
And yet, every single day, all of us get to answer a far more interesting question: What’s worth living for? If you could only pursue one thing, what would you craft a life around and do every day? And what if real sacrifice was involved… would you stick with it?
Dying for something is heroic; in the rare case that it happens, you go down in a blaze of glory, clutching to your morals or cause. Nice work if you can get it. Years later, Brad or Angelina will play you in the movie.
But living for something can be mundane—and therefore far more sacrificial, because seldom does anyone else notice. You just go on living, beating the drum for the thing you’ve chosen to value above all else. Genuinely living for something, day after day, is much more valuable than looking for the blaze of glory at the end.
So what do you think—what’s truly worth living for?
seeing your dreams into a reality…that’s worth living for.
choosing to be happy, and free, and loving every waking moment…even if others around you choose not to… is worth living for.
truth, love, beauty, passions, ideals, principles,…those are worth living for.
Thanks for the stolen article ;) it actually gave me a lot to think about. It’s weird to say, but I haven’t really contemplated what is worth living for lately. For the most part my mind has been wandering in a grey area, and being alive right now just means taking life day by day. Work, school, sleep, repeat. When I think long term though, I realize that I am not always going to be in this position. I realize that there are things that are meant to take me forward in life, and the thought of that is exciting to me.
What’s truly worth living for? Seeing myself working as a chef in the next couple of months. Backpacking Europe in October, Seeing my Mom and Brother in November, Taking my first year off school in 16 years to begin my career and adventures. Reading this, these things may look small to some. I feel like I’ve been working towards this point my entire life though, and finally after the long haul it’s dawning on me in the next couple of weeks. I’m about to go through some big changes, and all of my successes and failures that have lead me to this point have truly felt worth living for.
Love, Love is worth living for. To love everyone, every single moment, even when life is beating you down, ripping you apart. Even when those around you cannot see it within them to even love themselves, love them. Love the moments you share with them. Show them by example. Heal them with you love, overwhelm them with you love. For someday someone will do this back to you. Give and receive and give more. Be free to love unabashedly. Unafraid to express the beauty that is you. To be able to experience the beauty that is the world. That is worth living for. Dying is easy. Be brave. Be extraordinary. Live.
The most important part of this question is FOR. What is worth living for? Every individual can think of something they can live for, whether love, memories, experiences, etc… What is worth living for = infinity; countless emotions, ideas, people. All these features are experienced through life. So…What is worth living for? Living. Without it, you don’t have anything else.
It’s a long unexpected journey, whether we think we have it planned or not. Enjoy the splendors of the world. We’re lucky we live in these times. When the end comes, the last moments may possibly be the most beautiful moments of your life. “Someday, we’ll fall down and weep and understand it all…all things.” – Mr. O’Brien (The Tree of Life).
Not quite sure where I found this or who said it, but I’ve had it saved on a sticky on my mac for a long time now.
“The world is a wonderfully weird place, consensual reality is significantly flawed, no institution can be trusted, certainty is a mirage, security a delusion, and the tyranny of a dull mind always threatens – but our lives are not as limited as we think they are, all things are possible, laughter is holier than piety, freedom is sweeter than fame, and in the end it’s love and love alone that really matters.”
Love is the quintessential aspect of life. It makes everything and everyone better. Love yourself, love others, love the world, and like Uncle Bob says, “Don’t worry, be happy!”
vive ut vivas
I wish I could find love, but right now… ehh never felt real love for anything or anyone, or maybe i have and just don’t realize it as love. I see freindship, loyalty, attraction, beauty, respect, joy and fun… when you feel it together –> thats what love is for me… but I can’t quantify it as one thing “love.” So I don’t know if thats what everyone else means.
So I live so that I can live, because at any moment I could die… and I guess I’m waiting to find love.
been facing some life troubles as of late so, just taking it one day at a time… life should get better :)
I love that article :) One thing I find worth living for is helping just one child find their something worth living for. *Soon* I’ll be an elementary school teacher and I’m positive there is nothing better than helping kids find their passions, their successes, and their way. I can’t think of a better way to spend my days.
My nephew committed suicide at the age of 23 last year, just a few days shy of his 24th birthday.
Needless to say that he couldn’t find the reasons to live. Although, outwardly, he appeared to have every reason to live, it doesn’t appear like those reasons held the same value to him, as they do to people looking in.
It has turned the family upside down.
Even I, feel an everpresent sadness that was just not there, before.
However, when Christmas time came, I still was moved by the spirit of the season. I wanted to live it and love the peace that Christmas brings me.
And as spring unfolds, I am looking forward to planting and the sunshine on my face.
I wonder if, in this society of extremes, if we don’t cease to marvel at the simplest things, and appreciate them.
I live for the pleasure of giving, of loving and of experiencing new things. But I also take pleasure in the simple things.
@ Jo Anne, I’m sorry to hear about your lost and what it has done to your family. I can hardly amagine what the impact most be of a familymember of such an young age who chooses not to live. I’m always astonished when I hear of suicide, and it make me sad that there are so many people who are probably so desperate that they can’t see any beauty in this world. It’s wonderful to read that even though you are able to enjoy life.
I agree that we probably don’t appreciate the wonderful things in life enough. I believe most people could be a lot happier be taking a moment once in awhile to think about all the things they are grateful for and the beauty life brings. Great topic as a reminder to do this more often.
I think asking “What’s worth living for?” is a very optimistic approach. Everyone here is already alive. Living, therefore, is just maintaining the status quo.
A more logical approach to the question seems to be “Is life bad enough to warrant taking action to discontinue it, or should it be permitted to continue?” or as Shakespeare put it:
“Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them? To die, to sleep,”
If one believes that they get more pain and sorrow out of life than pleasure and contentment, it would follow that it would be rational to end their life.
That’s not the end of the issue though. What if something amazing is going to happen to you later in life that is better than anything you’ve ever experienced before. What if you find something that makes all the pain worth it?
If one were to take up arms against his or her sea of troubles, he/she is essentially betting that the future will be as bad or worse than the past.
Beyond this point, logic is useless. The future is unpredictable. We may be able to estimate probabilities of future events with varying degrees of accuracy, but we never really know what the future holds.
If you can hold onto the belief that there may be some sort of awesomeness in your future that you haven’t discovered yet, then you always have a reason not die, which is at least functionally the same as a reason to live.