To be alive is, by itself, a curious existence. Walking around on this earth, some people feel the need to always be doing “something.” It doesn’t matter what it is. It could be walking, running, singing, jumping, screwing, belching, loving and hating. It could be sitting in an office, furiously typing away at a keyboard, composing an email, constructing a spreadsheet or preparing a Power Point presentation. It could be leaning against a restaurant bar, laughing with your friends, trading stories while you consume drink after drink to maintain that pleasant buzz in the back of your brain. However, what I think some people never realize is that even when you aren’t doing any of these things, even when you’re sitting alone in a room with nothing to keep you company but the gentle rumble of an air conditioner and your own thoughts, you are still doing something: you’re being alive.
I can only speak for myself of course, but being alive is something that is amazing and frightening, humbling and confusing. It is what you gleam when you dig deep down in yourself and realize that as of that moment, as well as all past and future moments, the entirety of your existence is laid out before you. What you’ve done, what you haven’t done, what you will do; all the people you’ve met and experiences you’ve had, as well as the meetings and times yet to occur. In those silent moments, you can glimpse at the very nature of your mortality.
Part of me says I shouldn’t be writing this, that I shouldn’t be thinking this, but it’s not for the reasons some might believe. It’s a daunting task, knowing that you have an entire future ahead of you. Within every individual’s hands they bear the weight of their lives and the lives of every single person they might influence. It is a burden, and it is also a gift, and perhaps it is something no member of the human race is meant to dwell on for too long. Maybe that’s why other animals are only able to live within the moment.
Less than two weeks ago, I was at the memorial service for the mother of a dear friend of mine. Sitting in that church, I heard her son, my friend and surrogate brother, deliver one of the most beautiful eulogies I’ve ever heard. In that moment, I saw this woman’s life, this woman’s legacy, within his words. Through her life, her experiences, including the ones she shared with her son and the ones she had apart from him, she touched the life of every person he would ever meet, and perhaps the lives of everyone those people would ever meet. To be alive, to exist in this world, is to weave a piece into the massive, inscrutable, ineffable tapestry that surrounds us all.
Like I said, life is a burden and a gift, both for you and the rest of the world. When it is a burden, it can sometimes be too heavy for one person to carry, so at those times it needs to be shared. When it is a gift, it can be wonderful beyond comparison. So, if there’s a point to all of this, which I’m not 100% sure there is, it’s that life isn’t defined by what you do every day, but rather what you do over a lifetime, and what you do will inevitably effect the people around you, whether you realize it or not. Life is precious, it is unique to every person that lives it, and whether you live one or (depending on your beliefs) a hundred, it will always surprise you.