The Odyssey is one of the most fascinating books that I have ever read because of its relevant themes that affect society nowadays, such as temptation, hierarchy, faith, death, family, and mortality. All of these themes and many more are highlighted by Homer in this book, yet one that has been on my mind since day one is the meaning of being alive, as it is a philosophical question that everyone has been trying to decipher for thousands of years.
What does it mean to be alive? What do we live for? Before entering the dark, unnerving Gate of Hades, Odysseus wants to give up. In other words, he wants to die. After all, why is he enduring so much pain just to go back home? But, when he arrives there and meets Akhellieus- the greatest fighter of all time- and his mom, he realizes that death is not an easy escape, it is an eternal prison. He remembers Penelope, awaiting him in Ithaka; his father, whose hopes to see his son have been completely crushed by grief.
He, now, has something to live for. He knows the hardships and conflicts he faces will be worth it because he will be rewarded with feelings of joy, comfort, and safety. That is the same for us. Most of us have faith that our adversities will turn into blessings after we undergo them. Life is meaningless until we find something worth getting up from bed for. Odysseus finds meaning in his life when he realizes he has a limited time to spend with his loved ones. He is not a god. Neither are we. And that is exactly why we need to cherish and be grateful for insignificant existence.