I Don’t Have a Life (Really? What a Strange Thing)

Last night I was thinking about what that phrase means.  I was talking with a friend who has a similar enthusiasm for studying, practicing, and teaching yoga, who also has a full-time job/career.  At some point in describing the number of hours I have spent studying with John Friend and other Anusara teachers, it came out of my mouth that I have been able to pursue this passionate engagement with yoga because, as others have said to me, “I don’t have a life.”  My friend, being in the same society after all, initially went right along with that statement as if it was a perfectly reasonable thing to say.

Then we started questioning it.  It is not as though we do not both have rich, full, engaged, active lives.  How did the vernacular come up with a phrase  that says we do not “have a life,” if we are not so occupied with the things that society would have us do (for the “modern” woman I think this means high-powered career, husband, children, nice house) that we have enough time and flexibility to deeply pursue and explore beyond what we are supposed to do?

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2 Comments

  1. Gayle

    I have to say that I think you were wrong to say you are the one that “doesn’t have a life.” What is a (active, engaged, rich) life if it does not include the time (and desire) to “pursue this passionate engagement with yoga” or whatever one’s passion might be? Those who say you “don’t have a life” are probably the same people who struggle daily to feel fulfilled by work, shuttling kids to lessons of all sorts, talking about work and shuttling kids, eating, sleeping and the general “rat race.” Perhaps they simply mean you don’t have *their* life…

  2. jane

    Seems to me that you have a fine and full life that happens to include significant measures of flexibility and personal freedom, which you have used to in a way that enhances the lives of yourself and others.

    Lately I’ve been thinking that no part of how we live, move, and have our being should be considered to be any less “a life” than any other part.

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