The proper function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time. ~ Jack London ~
Far too many times in life we find ourselves complacent with the world around us. We fall into the day to day routine and the melancholy of life consumes us. This is what I call “merely existing.” Every person has a different reason why they do this but in the end its all a matter of us becoming comfortable in the “safe space” we have created around our routine. A bubble wrapped universe where we do our jobs and go home. Now don’t get me wrong, there is nothing I like better than going up to my study, shutting the door, opening a window and sitting back into my easy chair to read a book in the cool breeze. It’s good to have these spaces but in short, there is this voice calling from the uttermost depths of our souls, our very being with the call to go out and LIVE! Most people, unfortunately, have silenced this voice and live the life of “Netflix and chill” but that gents is a path to spiritual and physical destruction. (Read This: Are You Living or Existing?)
As Jack London said, the PROPER function of man, is to LIVE. I love to read and one of my favorite figures of history is our 26th President, Theodore Roosevelt. Now, there is a man who lived and lived life strenuously! I am currently reading Candice Millard’s book “The River of Doubt” and there is a story of how we as men can deal with depression or stress. Now I’m not saying go and risk life and limb while exploring an uncharted river in the Amazon rain forest. However, the way ole’ T.R. handled hardships should be an inspiration to everyone, man or woman. Instead of drowning in his tears and alcohol he would go on an adventure that had potential to be very, very dangerous, and in it he conquered his sadness and heartache and in the end he conquered the one thing we all battle with day in and day out, ourselves.
Being afraid to do new things is a plague that keeps far too many people from reaching their full potential. Murphey’s Law is the primary reason why fear becomes a problem. We have to remember and accept the fact that, “If something can go wrong, it will.” It’s not anything to stress or worry about, just learn to adapt and overcome. I’m 19 years old and one of my dreams was to go out west and work on a ranch. So early this year my dream came true and I was hired as a guide on a ranch in northern Wyoming. I spent the whole time between getting the call and going, trying to prepare myself for the ranching life of the American West. Then in May I said goodbye to my parents and brother and for the first time in my life I left everything I had ever known and was completely on my own 2,000 miles away from home.
After getting there I was fired up and ready to work so I did for a while, and then I was faced with a decision I was in no way prepared for. I was told that I would have extra duties in my job that were not in the initial job description. These duties would be considered easy and “no problem” to others but they went against a conviction of mine and I couldn’t bring myself to do them. So after trying to find a way around doing it, and finding the boss wouldn’t allow me to not do them, I made the decision to stay true to myself and give up a great opportunity. The point of this story is that, problems will come and they may be simple problems that may seem easy to fix. In the end always remember that you have to spend the rest of your life with yourself, and if you hate the person you see in the mirror, life can be a miserable thing. Stay true to yourself and your beliefs and everything else will fall into place, but in the meantime, pick yourself up off the ground and keep moving forward.
Just because something doesn’t go as you planned, don’t give up. Don’t be afraid to run the extra mile, put in the effort and climb that mountain. At the end of that mile you might find the prettiest stream, flowing over rocks and trickling with the very essence of the wild. At the top of that mountain you may find the most humbling valley, overlooking miles and miles of God’s beautiful creation. The most beautiful things are those that you have to work to get, ones that you were passionate to find. Life isn’t easy, we all know that, so get out there and work harder than life is. Give it your all and one day you’ll stop to find that you LIVED and not merely existed, your life will be full of the vim and vigor that gets you through the hard times.
Also don’t listen to the naysayers and the downers, because well, I’ll let Colonel Roosevelt tell you.
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
About the Author
My name is Ethan Douglas, I am 19 years old and I live in Southern Georgia. I currently work as a historical interpreter at the Georgia Museum of Agriculture and Historic Village and working on my writing on the side.
All my life my heroes were men like Theodore Roosevelt, Frederick Burnham, and Jack O’Connor. Like those men I love the outdoors and hunting. When not at the gym or at the shooting range I’m normally found reading a book.