Turns out, I’m actually on top of this whole balancing act between keeping myself alive, and actually living. This surprised me. Of course, I could be lying to myself. It wouldn’t be the first time.
The only way to figure out the answer to this week’s question, was to do so backwards. What are the things that keep me alive, and what are the things that make me feel alive?
First, there’s the obvious, some things that keep me alive are: food, chores, money, stability, roof over my head, cooking, and staying safe. Although a few of these are not wholly things I do, there are actions that I take to ensure that they occur/exist. For instance, roof over my head requires that I don’t burn the building down or piss off my landlady. Additionally, stability refers not only to my own, but that of my household (including the two chaos creators who still live in it most of the time). Keeping them stable, keeps me from dying of a heart attack.
Secondly, and less obvious, things that make me feel alive. This was a tough one because I wasn’t really sure what ‘feeling alive’ meant in this context. It could have meant that pants-wetting rush of adrenaline that you get when you’re upside down on a fair ride and you feel like your face is about to meet concrete. That’s pretty exhilarating.
I chose to read it as: things which make me feel like I’m experiencing my life, rather than simply surviving it. Some of those are as follows:
Reading – Because I love it. Old books, new books, big books, small books. Love them. One thing I am trying to accomplish is to read different books. Some non-fiction (non study) books have made it into my reading list for the first time in ages and I’m genuinely enjoying it.
Learning – I have a passion for learning (one of the reasons I like books so much). Aristotle famously said “the only thing I know, is that I know nothing”. This is pretty much my life philosophy. There is so much out there to discover and I am an explorer.
Walking – I don’t mean the kind of walking where you go from one place to another. I mean, along the coast or in the countryside. I mean, breathing fresh air and experiencing the wonder of the natural world. It’s breathtaking.
Spending time with friends and family – This one’s a bit of a double edged sword. I love my friends and family: I don’t always love socialising. Nevertheless, I am making the effort this year to stop finding reasons why I can’t meet people for a couple of hours and start finding reasons why I can.
Travel – Sadly, I am a poor, struggling student and I just can’t gallivant all over the world right now. My list of places that I wish I could visit is getting longer by the year: Spain, Malta, Greece, China, Machu Picchu, Egypt…. One day, I will go.
Writing – Writing is something I’ve been doing my whole life. Ever since the day my English teacher asked my class to write a page or two of a short story and I proudly presented her with something like 16 pages (I was around 8 at the time). I make no claims to genius. I just enjoy it. It’s been a long while since I managed to squeeze it into my life on a regular basis, hence this blog was born. With luck, and effort, it may lead me back to the chapters that sit patiently awaiting my return: dusty and forlorn and eager to be continued.
What would your answer to this week’s question be? Feel free to post in the comments.