Are You Alive, Or Just Living?

Ok, so anyone reading this is very much alive, but are you actually living too? How many people in suits do you see every day, or in any form of uniform for that matter? Schoolchildren, bus drivers, bin men, retail workers, the list really does go on. How many times a day have you looked at your watch, or the clock that hangs on the wall in your office in anticipation of your lunch hour? How many steps do you think you’ve taken to and from work? How often do you actually live? Not enough people in today’s society go out and really live. When was the last time you just took off without giving anyone any notice? Went on a hike through Laugaveurinn Pass? See, I bet you’ll have to look up where that is. Why do people still feel the need to conform to 20th century living? We go to school. Most of us go to university, graduate, then graduate from more degrees, and then finally (if you’re lucky), you get a job. Then what? You’re expected to ‘start a life’. While all it being documented across various platforms of social media of course. This luxuriously agrarian world has an infinite amount of adventures to go on. Yet, we’re beaten into thinking that we must know what we want to do first, then get a solid career, start a family, all by the time we’re 30. Stop and explore the living things around you every so often as well, seriously. Maybe then you’ll start to mirror the living things around you, and not just be alive in the midst of them.

Obviously we need some form of income or we wouldn’t be able to live at all. What I’m saying is, I don’t want to be stuck in a hamster-wheel of unfulfilling work. I want to love my job. I want my job to make me feel like I’m really living. I want to look forward to coming in every day. When Sunday evening comes around I don’t want to be wallowing away feeling sorry for myself because tomorrow is that dreaded Monday again. I don’t want to be one of those people with the notion that because I have an income I’m working, and when it’s outside ‘working’ hours it’s considered play time. There really is no logic to that in my opinion. I don’t want to be stuck in a monotonous routine, that if someone were to walk by, my face would be expressionless and my movements be mechanical. This would be the beginning of my mind slowly dying. I want to feel like my presence has a purpose in a job, that I’m always achieving something new, on a daily basis. If I feel like I’m making a contribution in some way it’s not work, I’m actually living. These days there’s so much emphasis on what we ought to do and not on what we want to do. Alan Watts, a notorious philosopher, asked the question, ‘What would you do if money were no object?’ So many of us have dreams and aspirations to be someone, to be worth something, but lack of money tends to cease them from becoming a reality. For me, if money were no object I’d be numerous things. I’d be a writer, a painter, a photographer, a fashion designer, a dancer, a singer, a model (even though I’m evidently under 6ft), all while living in a cushy cabin in the woods, or maybe a lavish hut on a secluded equatorial island. You need to thoroughly love what you do in order for you to have any chance at loving life. That’s when you start to live, when you start to love; because if money is the most important thing to you then you’re already dead. As Mr Watts has put perfectly in this excerpt from his speech, “What If Money Were No Object?”

“You will spend your life completely wasting your time. You’ll be doing things you don’t like doing in order to go on living that is to go on doing things you don’t like doing; which is stupid.”

So, are you alive, or just living?

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