Is Life Really Worth it If...

A photo of a young woman in a bathroom, the lighting is very orange and she is leaning against the sink looking generally unimpressed or lacking meaning in life.
Photo by Yuris Alhumaydy

Lately, I've heard a lot of sentences that start, "Is life really worth living if .... ?"

... if you don't have a big, all-consuming passion that drives you?

... if you don't get to travel and see other countries and cultures?

... if your work isn't changing lives or making a big impact?

... if you never have children?

... if you don't reach a professional goal?

... if you never get that lake house?

... if you don't have a religious faith?

... if you can't go outside or hug your friends?

I just want to put on the record that the answer is YES. Life is still worth living.

Even if you don't feel called to a greater purpose. Even if you never see the seven wonders of the world or get a villa in Spain. Even if you don't reach a really important goal, climb another mountain, or have a family of your own.

Life is worth living.

Sure, we could get into a nuanced discussion of the deeply difficult medical situations that make the value of simply being alive questionable. But when it comes to these kinds of circumstances? The ones that are really just about giving life the extra juice that makes it feel more exciting or full? Absolutely. Worth it. Don't tell yourself that your life-cake is worthless if you didn't get one particular brand of sprinkles to put on top.

There's a difference between a life that is worthless and a life that could use some enriching.

Don't get me wrong, I think we all deserve to live rich lives. Lives that are full of love and meaning and joy. And if your life doesn't have any of those things, then please, take your very worthwhile life and think about what would make it feel richer.

Do you need to cultivate more meaningful relationships? Find work that gives you a deeper sense of purpose? Get a pet? Try some new hobbies? Save up and travel? By all means, go forth! Do those things!

Just know that you are doing those things BECAUSE your life is already worth living. Your life is so worthwhile that it deserves richness, meaning, and all the goodness you can give it. And if for any reason one of those wonderful things doesn't work out? Still worth it.

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