How about: "life as distinct from existence is a myth?" or: Life: "That which has not yet been destroyed by chaos: the (increasingly diverse) results of continuous accidental experiments in stability?"
The advent of reproduction is a significant step in this increasing stability, but I feel that non-reproductive stability is usually excluded from definitions of life because "alive" is deemed to require complex activity. Perhaps these are prejudices that we use to separate ourselves from other stable forms of energy.
Am I alive? Are my cells alive? Are their organelles alive and are the molecules they are made of alive? I feel the question is ultimately about self-perception. I must be alive - surely? I hope I am, but that doesn't really help the debate.
it would seem that my atoms are MUCH more durable than myself
Yes that's hard to disagree with... Perhaps if we consider the life form (species) rather than the individual: a species of bacteria lasts longer than each individual, so the form has stability provided by reproduction; so reproduction is one method of gaining stability (of the form). I'm not sure of my facts, but I'm guessing that: at the atom level, individual protons are less prone to being reduced to quarks and anihilating when they are hiding inside atoms, as are quarks inside protons. I know it's a different type of stability but is it not these layers of stability that build up to produce the complexity we call life?
I'm not at all sure, so glad to be learning from this forum. All the best.