I just finished reading an amazing book called Seeds: A Memoir by Dr. Sasha Vukelja. I have an appointment to see Dr. Vukelja (who is a hematologist) later this month and I had heard that this book was nothing short of inspirational. And it was true.
Something that has been playing over and over in my mind in the recent days after finishing the book, was a specific chapter in which she talks about the cancer patients that she meets on a regular basis and their attitudes. Some that expect their treatments and cancer journey to be fairly easy, and some that don't expect to live longer than the next six months. All of that talk about mortality and "seizing the day" really got me thinking.
What does it mean to truly Live?
I don't necessarily mean the purpose of our existence. But more the question of : when I come to the end of my life ... whenever that may be ... will I honestly be able to say that I lived?
Someone once said - "Do not fear death, rather, fear the unlived life."
Everyone has a different definition of a fulfilling life. For some, it would mean that they dedicated themselves to the service of others, constantly focused on helping orphans and the homeless. For others, it would mean that they got to travel the world. Learning everything they can about different cultures and people, leaving their mark everywhere they go. There are also those that dream about being parents, teaching their children everything they can about God's love, the beauty that surrounds us, and what it means to forgive. To each of us, living is a different feeling.
And I must confess. I am a little fearful of looking back on my life and being disappointed in myself for not only wasting so much time on things that do not matter, but also wishing that I had done more to touch the lives of others. I sometimes lay in bed at night and wonder if I would feel differently if I talked to every stranger I passed on the street. Just said one nice thing to them to make them smile. Or volunteered at a children's home, or traveled to Sicily and researched my family tree. I have so many ideas of what it would mean to live that I wouldn't be able to do them all in this lifetime.
You know what I think hurts us?
I know what you are thinking. "Well, I wouldn't even be reading this now if it weren't for technology." Point well taken. ... But I'm serious.
We are so occupied in this day and age with what other people are doing, that we aren't doing anything ourselves. We watch countless television shows that may or may not be real stories and get so caught up in the plot and characters' lives that our own are passing us by.
Or we are so used to sitting for hours scrolling through facebook to see which friend is going to the game tomorrow and which friend just broke up with her boyfriend. All the while, time doesn't stop for us. We might as well type in our own status boxes -"wasting precious minutes of my own life by following every second of yours."
I'm guilty of it too. Boy, am I guilty.
And that is why I want to change it. I've always told myself how incredibly sad it must be to not be able to tell someone your grandmother's favorite flower or your husbands favorite childhood memory, but you can tell someone the favorite food of the monkey on Friends. (Ok. So no, I've never actually made that exact statement, but you get the point.)
Are we living?
Better yet, are we living our lives ...
or are we just a character in someone else's while ours are passing us by?
Make yours something more than a sitcom or a status.
Make it something that will LIVE ON long after you are gone.
"My life has been the poem I would have writ, but I could not both live and utter it."
-Henry David Thoreau