This article concentrates on life as a concept in popular culture and sociology. For other senses of "life" (such as life in the biological sense), see life.

Life or personal life or human existence refers to the pleasant or alarming idea that each individual human runs a personal private career during their lifespan, based on the principles of free will. We find this notion very commonly in modern existence, and a swathe of service industries stands ready to help the hapless run their "lives" through counselling or even through life coaching.

A "life" as a whole may seem morally "good" or "bad", and become characterised as such. It (or part of it) may find literary reflection in a biography, an autobiography or a memoir. Some outstanding lives merit hagiography or a vita.

The career from birth to death need not appear as a uniform "daily life". Thus people speak individual strands within their overalllives: their "intellectual lives", their "workinging lives", their "family lives" and (particularly) their "sex lives". The religiously inclined may have "spiritual lives" or "religious lives" intertwined with their everyday activities; they may also expect an afterlife (for some the most important thing). In the interim, those who can afford to pause and to do so may adopt a lifestyle or assess their quality of life.

Continual doubts, however, may assail the would-be life-conductor. Acquaintances will encourage such to "get a life" -- in the sense of promoting fuller participation in human (especially socially approved) activities - often outside one's own personally-defined life. Coercive state or corporate agencies will encourage alleged "individuals" to submerge themselves in collective wholes: mass movements or teams - on the sportsfield or in the workplace. For so widespread a concept, personal life may seem fuzzy and precarious.

Compare Physical quality of life index