Life is for the living. But more often than not we tend to forget that. It’s easy to pass by life without thinking about what it meant, the ultimate definition of surviving, and for more time than I care to admit, I’ve been doing that.
You have school, work, kids, parents, friends, worries, and problems, all of which take a lot of our time.
You need to worry about grades, are they too low? Is someone doing better? The feeling of failure after comparing yourself with the brain genius in your class. The pressure that you feel on your shoulder because who you are is defined in one number from 0 to 20, whether you are intelligent or mediocre or just dumb. The tests, one single thing, you have two hours tops, with a teacher hovering around you, to put every single bit of knowledge you have, a summary of an entire semester of books, articles, classes, how is that even possible?
Papers that you spend way too much time writing, researching, thinking, and working, you try to express ideas into words, for some of us is easy, for some of us, is a struggle, and there is a 50% chance that your work is not going to be graded fairly or even read. Is easy to be swallowed by the feeling, the pressure, the fear, and the overwhelming number of worries. Am I too old to still be in college? Am I too young and no one will take me seriously because of it?
And there is work. Depending on where you work can be a pleasure or your worst nightmare. You can be excited about what you do, but that doesn’t mean that is not tiring or difficult or that your work life is a walk in the park. You can love your job and still have a hard time every once in a while, that is normal. And then you can hate your job, but you do it anyway because you need the money. After all, you signed a contract without reading the tiny words, because you feel stuck and have nowhere else to go because that is what people expect you to do and you don’t want to disappoint anyone.
You do what you need to do, mostly because when you grow up and get away from the cloud most of us are in it while teenagers, you understand that life, work and most things related are not easy or simple as you once thought when your head was in fantasyland. If you want to eat, pay rent, your bills, you need to work, in something you like or not and that’s not easy.
Make an effort to call your mom every night, even though you are mentally exhausted and don’t want human contact of any kind, but you do it anyway because you know she misses you and she is also paying the emotional price for your choice of moving across the ocean, you are not the only one who gets lonely, you know that she misses you and you are ready to listen she talking about her day and how the baby dog they got is eating the entire house and throwing up later. You call because you want to know how your brother is doing and how was your father’s day at work.
And then you worry about your friends, you worry if they are doing ok because you know that they feel the same way you do, and you know that’s not the best feeling in the world. You worry because you don’t have the time to call as much as you wanted to. You worry that you are missing too much of their lives and eventually they won’t miss you anymore. You worry that you are too absent, too overwhelmed to help yourself so you can’t help them either. You worry that you are not a good friend, a good person, and you join a vortex of self-depreciative feelings because you know that even though you love them you are still not close enough, not as you should be and that is the consequence of your own choices.
You feel like there is not enough time to deal with all of that and still make time to live, people who are just surviving, people like 2/3 of the world population. But that’s life. Is it? Is it supposed to be like that? To feel like I am a complete fail at 24 and missing half my life focusing on fulfilling other people’s expectations and rules imposed by a society that listened to 20 years old heiresses and football players that make 4,08 million EUR per month? Am I doing and understanding this all wrong? Do I really know what it means to be alive? Am I living, or why I am not living?
There are about 100 million reasons why every single person on this planet has their own story. We all have reasons why we are not living. And when was the last time you actually felt alive? That you felt the blood pumping in your veins, that your whole body heated in the best way possible, that you felt, really felt, physically alive, not from pain, not from anxiety but pure joy and adrenaline, do you remember?
Maybe feeling alive is what we chase our entire lives. Maybe that’s the point of the hours of studying, working, and worrying. We are all chasing something, the excitement, or the calmness. Feeling alive is a unique feeling, one that you can’t put a label on it or tell someone what it is that makes them feel alive.
Feeling alive is about you. You fight every day for what you believe in, a better world, a different life, a goal, doesn’t matter really. Only you know, you matter in that equation. Is all about not being swallowed by the craziness of the world that moves ways too fast for anyone to fully understand, is about not comparing yourself with impossible standards, is about finding your way, your own truth. Is easy to be carried away when you think you need to be successful before 30, or get married and have kids before 35, you have your own sense of time and accomplishment. Feeling alive is about living the life you want to live.
I made a mental note while looking at sunset a couple of days ago, that the is more to life than just surviving. Logan Huntzberger was right, people can live a hundred years without really living for a minute but I’m not going to be one of those, are you?
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