21. What is the difference between being alive and truly living?
Well, if you want to make it as simple as possible, being alive means still being able to breathe – so the bare minimum of being alive is possibly lying in a hospital bed in a vegetative state with the heart rate monitor still going. But being truly living means being able to make a physical and emotional impact on others.
Somehow I feel like this question is meant to be a critique on whether humans are really living their lives and making an impact on society rather than just going about their daily routines. But – being the rebel that I am – I refuse to take that approach. ‘Cause I believe that this question will have varying degrees for different people, because different people will have different expectations of their lives or seek different journeys. For some, truly living could be finding someone to love, and having children and having a stable job, and then retiring. That could be enough. That is a life well lived for them. And I think it’s wonderful. Because I watch vloggers like the Michalaks and the Sacconejolys and those are such “#goals”. But, of course, they have just done it on a much more public stage.
I think truly living is setting goals for yourself in your life and reaching some of these goals. And yes, they can be as small yet satisfying as growing a garden in your backyard, and as large and formidable as creating an non-profit organisation for an incredible cause.
Some people feel alive in very different ways, and I feel like we should not judge or force them to subscribe to our definition of “truly living”. It’s all about perspective taking. And – if anything – vegetative states can take different forms. Sometimes, being restrained from doing the things that we truly want to do is our own personal brand of “just being alive”.
You can force someone to go on so many adventures, hoping to change their mindset and they could be bored and miserable and not truly alive. After all, Emerson wrote that a person who constantly travels can never transcend and one should just sit in a room and think. Different people have different ways of understanding and learning about the world, and I believe that once you’ve found your own means of doing so, you’re truly living.
Till next time,