Getting a Life

When I mentioned to a new acquaintance that I often walk two hours a day, she gave a snide little laugh and said, “You have no life.”

Getting a life seems to be a common concern in recent years, but what is a life? And where do you get one? Lifes R Us?

I don’t know how that odious terminology came into being or what it means. Often, especially in movies, “Getting a life,” refers to dating and looking for a mate, but since the woman who accused me of having no life had also recently lost her mate, that couldn’t be what she meant. Does having a life mean having a job? I’m in a transitional stage right now where I don’t have a job, and am not currently looking. And anyway, I’ve never found working for others to be particularly satisfying, so a job can’t be categorized as a “life.” Could “a life” refer to emotions, to feeling? Well, recently I’ve had enough emotions to fill an oil tanker, so that can’t be what she meant, either. Could “having a life” mean having fun? But that takes us into a whole other discussion: what is fun? Most of what people do for fun seems torturous to me, so I’ll stick to walking.

I’m only being a bit facetious here. The truth is, if you are alive, you have a life. It might not be satisfying — it might even be painful — but it is a life. Life is experiences, both good and bad. Life is waking and sleeping. Life is being with friends and being alone. Life is reading and writing. Life is eating and dieting. Life is success and failure. Life is tears and laughter. Life is everything we are and everything we wish to be. Life is. 

Get a life? I have a life. And so do you.

8 Responses to “Getting a Life”

  1. T. L. Cooper Says:

    I think “gettting a life” means engaging with life rather than hiding from it. Often we tend to pigeonhole ourselves into a role and get stuck. Then we need to “get a life” or perhaps we should say “embrace the experiences life brings”. Your friend’s intention was likely loving but perhaps her delivery could’ve used a bit more compassion. Friday night I posted that I needed to consider getting a life because I’d been so immersed in my writing that I didn’t even realize what day it was!! We can often fool ourselves into thinking life is as full as it can be because we fear moving forward into what the rest of life has to offer. Perhaps this is what your friend meant. Perhaps she’s concerned you’re using your long walks to avoid engaging with people and new experiences. I don’t know but is it possible. Yes, we all have a life, but from time to time we must ask ourselves is this really living or merely existing….

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      T.L. It’s good of you to put an optimistic light on what was a snide remark from someone who had no concern for me whatsoever. Oddly, your being so immersed in your writing that you didn’t even know what day it is would be considered a life and an enviable one by most people who have little time to write. But yes, your point is well taken: it is important to engage in life. I wonder, though, if that is a luxury — so often life was about survival (existing) with no time left over for anything else.

      • T. L. Cooper Says:

        Just to clarify two points. Normally, I would be thrilled with being that immersed in my writing; however, I hadn’t stepped outside my house for days and felt a little isolated from the world. Second, I hope it’s not a luxury though I’m sure for some it is. Still, many people find beauty in lives that to most of us would seem arduous, so who am I to judge?
        BTW, if I lived near a WARM beach, I just might try to walk two hours a day myself…. I LOVE walking on the beach. 🙂

  2. Carol Ann Hoel Says:

    Yes, we all have a life. I guess people say this phrase when they think their life is more exciting than yours. I’d rather take a walk than do most of what others prefer to do. I’d be bored if I had to indulge in what most of the world considers fun. I say to these people that are having all that fun: get a life. Ha! Blessings to you, Pat…

  3. jen Says:

    Great post, Pat. I always took this saying to mean “Do something else with your life because I don’t approve of the way you’re living yours.” Ha! Too bad. It’s my life and I’ll live it the way I want whether ‘you’ approve or not! As for you walking 2 miles a day – bravo!! It beats sitting in front of the t.v. watching Wheel of Fortune!

  4. Carol J. Garvin Says:

    Having a life, for many of the people I know, means pursuing activities that give purpose and meaning to their days, whether it’s a job, charitable work, hobbies, etc. — filling their days with busyness. A treadmill life isn’t the kind I want or have, and I suspect some of my friends think I have a lot of spare time on my hands. Bottom line is, what someone else thinks of how you spend your time doesn’t matter.

  5. Other Lisa Says:

    Er, to my mind, two hour walks are an important part of life. My life, anyway.


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