Live a life worth living – Introduction

Posted by Nathan Jefferson
Jul 17 2013

What is all the preparedness, self sufficiency, community building, gardening, etc, all about? Why do we work so hard to help ensure survival? Everyone’s answers will be at least a little different. But the core should be very similar, hopefully at least.

To survive and live no-matter-what.

But is that enough? I don’t think so. This reminds me of one of my favorite book quotes:

“We had a ceremony today. An award, to the kid who caught the most rats this week. And we can look forward to that for the rest of our lives. To our kids growing up as rat catchers and swine herders. Honorable work. Needed work. Nobody puts it down. But … Don’t we want to hope for something better?” Rick Delanty, from Lucifer’s Hammer.

How about we change the answer to: Survive and live a life worth living.

How do we distinguish between the two? How do we work towards surviving and living a life worth living? First you have to start living a life worth living right now, today, this very instant.

How? You will have to ask your self many questions, such as: What is important to you? What isn’t important to you? What is your quality of life, and the quality of life of those you love and care about?

To get there it will be a hard road to walk, at least if you look at a lot of the stats floating around:

  • 1 in 8 adults in the US are on some sort of anti-depressant
  • Over 1 in 4 are labeled as obese (over 1 in 3 are overweight)
  • 1 in 3 have high blood pressure
  • Half of the US reports high levels of stress that lead to physical problems (main causes: Money, work, economy and family responsibilities)
  • The average indebted household has over $15,000 dollars on their credit cards
  • 73% of voters think the country is on the wrong track

I could keep going, but you get the idea. I’d bet you didn’t even need me to tell you any of the above, and could name a dozen more things to add to the list. It’s those types of things that make people want to get prepared in the first place, if right now is so bad – what is the future going to look like?

Today is bad, so we prepare for a worse tomorrow.

But I think we should turn that right around and flip it upside down. Today is bad, how can we make it better so we’re looking forward to a better tomorrow?

Over the next few weeks I’ll be posting many follow up parts to this, discussing some key topics including:

  • Health, exercise and diet
  • Family and relationships
  • Community
  • Faith and religion
  • Preparedness
  • Debt and finances
  • Liberty and freedom
  • Habits and actions
  • And more, if I don’t list it please let me know what you would like to see added!

Now for the good stuff – I’ll be giving away a $25 Amazon gift card to a lucky random person who leaves a comment on this thread about how they currently are – or are working towards living a life worth living. The winner will be selected on 7/27 and I will email them at the address used to enter the comment and it will be announced here and on my Facebook page. (FYI: entering your email for a comment does NOT sign you up for ANYTHING. If you would like to receive my monthly newsletter you can click here or on the mail icon in the top right.)

10 Responses

  1. JAPartridge says:

    Nice article, I’ve been thinking some of the same things.

  2. Tony says:

    Learning the difference between Want and Need is a major hurdle. After that hurdle is cleared, learning to appreciate the things we have rather than constantly feeling the need for more or newer “stuff”.

    These are key steps in discoveriing the abunance of simple, yet meaningful, pleasures in life.

  3. Denis Charpentier says:

    Found out this morning that Sept 30th will be my last day of work. After a day of anger, frustration, questioning, guilt and every other emotion you can think of I read your article and look at this as a blessing, my wife and myself have been letting life live us instead of us living life. This life change will enable us to make changes and bring us even closer together and help focus us on what is really important. We are both overweight and together we will be able to set goals in nutrition, diet and exercise. That will be our starting point. We realize that even when life kicks you in the butt you need to look at it as a gift to reboot and refocus. Life is too short to not grab what is important to you.

  4. Losing weight is my main goal in life. I don’t have high blood pressure, diabetes, or high cholesterol, things we associate with being overweight. But, I must lose weight to have a life worth living. Getting the back, knee, and shoulder surgery will also help immensely to a life worth living. (Gained weight after these injuries) Oh, did not see the comment about overweight above.

    Being alone is a problem I don’t know how to solve.

  5. Elaine says:

    My dad passed away almost four years ago. At the time, my mom was very ill, and my siblings and I could not see moving her to an assisted living facility…taking her away from the home she shared with my dad and her last real comfort. I left my job, my title and a $70K paycheck to care for her. My husband and I learned very quickly the difference between want and need, and reduced our expenses to bare-bones living. Two years ago, I also began caring for two of my grandchildren, and I continued to care for my mom until she passed away last August. I’ve come to learn that our value does not hinge on our title, our accomplishments, what we own or how much money we have in the bank. Our value comes from knowing that we are all created by a God who loves us and wants what’s best for us. A God who protects us and provides for us. He has provided during these past four years in ways I never could have envisioned. Now I see that, after God, the people in my life come first. Nothing is more important than our relationships. If something is interfering in them, that thing needs to be re-evaluated and possibly eliminated. Life is full of “stuff” – wants and distractions…actually a whole lot of smoke and mirrors that we simply do not need to attain. Peace comes from recognizing that we are all valuable, that we all have a purpose and that none of us have the right to dictate what someone else should do, or expect them to meet our expectations. And that they, in turn, are not in charge of us or our happiness. Love and friendship are only love and friendship if they are given freely. I’ve also learned that we need to do the right thing, regardless of how we feel. Doing the wrong thing simply sucks the life out of a person, in more ways than one. And I’ve learned that I don’t have to be right, I don’t have to have all the answers, and I will never be able to predict the future, so I don’t worry anymore. I now know how to live life in peace and joy, regardless of my circumstances. I fall off the wagon occasionally, but can get back on pretty quickly when life starts going sour, which it inevitably does! Financially, we struggle, but we manage. We drive old cars and live in a house that could use some repairs. We don’t have disposable income, but we have what we need…more than we really need, actually, when I look at all the “stuff” that has accumulated in our basement! Despite all of that, I can honestly say that I’m truly happy for the first time in my life. A deep-down, consistent happy that never lasted long when I tried to live by this world’s priorities, expectations and definitions of “success”. We are here for a reason, and the reason isn’t likely what we think it is.

  6. tylerb says:

    Having a “why” (quality life) will help you figure out the “how”!

  7. dmarks55 says:

    As we age, we get to the point where we stop getting things and start losing things. Then we are in the position to stop and appreciate the value of the things we still have. It doesn’t take much “stuff” to be happy. Family and friends and peace go a long way.

  8. Eight years ago I was fit and extremely active then I got rear-ended by a car at a stop light. The next year I was on Hydrocodone and for three years after that my doctors had me on Methadone for long term pain control. I took myself off the Methadone and told my doctor that I wanted a pain med that I could manage my pain with as I needed. My doctor recommended Hydrocodone again and I declined. We finally settled on Tylenol-Codeine #4 and as I used less and got tired of cutting tablets in half I reduced it to Tylenol-Codeine #3. Two years ago My right hand went numb and I started loosing strength in it and I was having breathing problems. There were some tests – there always are tests and they decided that I had some nerve damage from the accident so I went into surgery. Prior to surgery – and because I complained of breathing trouble I was run through a battery of tests for heart, liver, kidneys and other things which all came back great. After surgery I worked to get some strength back in my right hand and arm but was still having breathing problems. I finally went to see a pulmonologist and he confirmed what I had been telling my doctors for almost a year – my right lung was not functioning due to nerve damage from the accident. He called the surgeon and made it important enough to do the surgery. That surgery left me with no strength in my right arm and I could not lift it even with my shoulder. The surgeon had apparently bruised a nerve while doing the repair work. Within two weeks I had partial strength back and was working it several times a day when I noticed that my breathing was improving. I was walking almost a mile each day now and when I returned to the surgeon for post operative checkup he inquired how my arm was and i told him it was back to about 90% and that my breathing was better too. He told me that it might be a year or more before I got full use of my lung back and I told him I was much better he decided to prove that it was all in my head. He ordered an X-ray right away. The X-ray showed that my lung was filling about two thirds of the way instead of deflating as the other lung filled before surgery.

    Since that second surgery, just a year ago now, I am able to walk three miles – in one hour – I am almost completely off pain and muscle relaxers and i am busy once again. I am helping my brother build my garage, taking my grandkids fishing and beginning to enjoy all the things I have been unable to do for the last seven years. I even joined a local shooting range and to help with my therapy joined the small bore silhouette competition. I am unsteady but I have shown improvement each month. I am doing Pilates to increase my core strength, walking and stretching every other day to continue on the road to recovery that all the doctors said would never happen. I am living because I love to do the things I enjoy. Get out there and get a little better each day!

  9. Thank you for the $25 gift card. I really needed it right now!

  10. I like these types of discussions. A life worth living is something I believe we should all strive for…not just an existence. For me it’s about helping others, I get the greatest joy when what I do benefits others.

    Don’t get me wrong I have a selfish nature and will do what i want but I find I’m happiest when I helping someone else.

    I personally think that when the time comes and we are pushed back into a simpler life most of us will be much happier. Most of the worries we have today will go away when we are focused on food, shelter and family.

    just my 2 cents

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