I am not living. I am existing. And it’s not enough.
Living is feeling, feeling everything and feeling deeply. Living is having the breath stolen from your lips by the beauty of a sentence, by the intensity of a color, by the sonority and harmony of a chord. Living is not thinking, just doing, just feeling, just going with it and having a fantastic time. Living is putting your soul into everything, experiencing as much as possible, engaging deeply with the people and things around you. In this sense, I have not been living.
I go day to day just checking things off, simply wanting to get it done. And when I tell people this isn’t enough, they tell me I have to do it in order to get to the living part. Like living is only an adult thing that happens after you get an expensive degree and a career to pay the bills and maybe a life partner and start a family. Never mind the people my age and younger even who lived more deeply in their thirty or forty years than some people will in eighty. Never mind the great works of art, the masterful novels and poems, the entire social movements created by young people who wanted to really live, not just exist.
Maybe my discontent is a mortality thing. It’s hard to believe that there will always be a tomorrow like everyone tells me when breaking news constantly says otherwise. It’s hard to wait when everything keeps changing, often for the worse, and making my dreams harder and harder to believe in. It’s hard to know that getting older means more options and perhaps more stability, but in that less flexibility and more chance of waiting for the right moment turning into never getting there.
Maybe I’m scared to just live because everything I’ve ever heard and learned from society has conditioned me to believe in the checklist, the rules, the system, even though everything I’ve enjoyed reading, that’s really spoken to my thoughts and my emotions, has gone completely against all of it. It’s hard to throw off existence for living, and maybe I’m just not strong enough.
I’ve been told by some very important people to think outside the box, follow my dreams, live for myself and no one else because we can never make everyone happy. But I can’t figure out how to do that. I don’t want to fail, though I know failure is the only way to get better. I’m not sure if I can pick myself back up. I’ve never had the chance to try. I’ve also been told by other important people that the first people were wrong. I’m conflicted.
Life the way I imagined it has not happened. I understand plans change, that we can’t predict the future or anything. But things have gone the way someone else wanted them to, and I am uncomfortable, unhappy, and unsure. I am still the visceral, creative, adventurous, curious, confident person I’ve always been, but that part of me is hiding because it doesn’t fit with the world I’m stuck in right now. I need a change, because I’m failing in a not so constructive way, and I know I won’t be able to come back if I hit the bottom.