Merely Exist

Today’s quote is:

To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all. – Oscar Wilde

This is one of those quotes that made me cringe when I read it. The truth of it hit me so strongly that I couldn’t breathe for a moment.

The fact is, there are so many days, weeks, months when I am existing, and barely at that. I am just making it through my days, doing the things I’ve set for myself and the things that need to get done. And even those don’t really get done.

At this very moment, my clean laundry is piled up high, my floor is full of toys, the kitchen table has piles of papers, and my hands are covered with paint. I haven’t even begun to write my todo list for two weeks and I am hundreds of emails behind in my inbox. Random important things that I have to do pop into my head and I keep thinking I should at least write them down.

But I don’t want to do any of those things.

And I don’t.

I sit and read my book or write here or do some more art.

I am not even existing today but really in the place where I just avoid everything. I am numbing but not with food or internet, with just avoidance.

So when I read a quote like this, I feel like screaming.

Yes, I want to say, I want to live! I don’t want to merely Exist.

I don’t want it to feel so hard.

And then I remember that tomorrow is another day and I get to choose all over again.

So tonight, I’ll do a little bit, I’ll barely exist. I’ll take a walk and then go to sleep. Tomorrow, maybe tomorrow, can be the day I can take on the task of living.

5 comments to Merely Exist

  • Susan M

    Oh Karen, I am with you right now. Job and life are just generally overwhelming for me, and sometimes I just have to find some peace in my art. If you’re doing art or reading, you’re doing something that can give you some peace, and it sounds like you need that right now. It doesn’t sound like numbing. Give yourself the space that you need. I know it’s hard, I feel the same way. I’m still up after midnight working, when I need to get up in less than five hours. So I’m going to bed. But I just wanted you to know that you’re not alone in your thoughts, and I thank you for sharing so much of yourself. Take care.

  • Diane Downs

    Karen I can totally relate. I call it a ‘funk’ and there are times it hits me hard and sticks around for much longer than is ok.
    Thank you so much for sharing. Truly you are a blessing in my reader each morning.

  • Cheryl

    I’m with you. The lack of motivation to do mundane things is huge! I’m in the middle of a book that I found online. I can’t tell you where it popped up. I can only say that the story is resonating with me. The website is called The author talks about “mindfulness” and has selected cognitive anchoring as a more positive term. She talks specifically how art, knitting, doing embroidery, doodling, Zentangles, etc. change how the brain works and is relevant to help refocus, regroup, increase concentration.

    When I think about how much knitting I do and how wonderful I feel, notwithstanding that the laundry (not clean) is piling up, I know that she’s absolutely right. I can focus, I can read longer, I can concentrate better.

    It isn’t numbing, it’s helping your brain~ Just a different perspective.

  • Perhaps this quote and one of your weekly laughing family pictures need to be on a layout or canvas together. Or pictures from your skiing vacation. You *are* living your life. You have two jobs that require your intelligence and intellect, in different ways. You have two young children and a husband. You create almost every day. I know your standards are high and you thrive on that. But sometimes you just have to stop. Breathe. Sleep. Reboot. I remember carrying around a moderate level of stress all-the-darn-time when my daughter was 2, 3, 4 years old. I had her when I was 35 and didn’t deal spectacularly well with the years of not enough sleep and working full time. Sending commiseration and a hug across the internet. ~ Laura

  • sheri

    beautiful post 🙂

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