Monday, March 23, 2015
What Does Living Look Like?
Today I visited a friend who is in the final stages of a battle with pancreatic cancer.
Like the other dear friends I've had to say goodbye to too soon, she is much to young to die. It makes me wonder what sort of balance is out of skew in the Universe. How this could possibly be happening. Something feels so monumentally off when we lose people before their time.
It feels surreal and wrong.
And yet, it's the most powerful reminder for the rest of us how precious life is.
It made me think hard about what it means to really live.
What does that look like?
On the surface, it might look like pushing boundaries and taking risks; traveling to the ends of the earth to pack your days with an endless supply of experiences.
But when I really think about what makes me feel alive, it's simply being connected to the moment.
For me, living—really sopping up every last drip of life—is so much more about what I'm feeling than what I'm doing. I'm living when I connect with people, when I connect with nature, when I connect with a beautiful song or a blazing sunset. It's about presence and gratitude. Being grounded in an experience, rather than having a wild one.
I thought about what I would do if I knew I had only a short time to live, and that was the answer: focus on being connected to everything and every second.
I wouldn't have to race to see the countries I haven't seen. I wouldn't have to load every day with as many social interactions as possible. I would just have to plug in to the present.
The good news is, I can do this now. I can work at this every day so that whenever my final day arrives, there will be no question that I lived.
Today, for me, living looked like blowing off work for half the day to drive to LA. It was about being present on the highway as the cloudless sky and teal spans of ocean passed by outside my window. It was about sitting at the bedside of my friend, touching her arm and telling her stories, as she winds down this life and starts the transition into the next.
It was about feeling everything that came with that situation. The overwhelming sadness mixed with the immeasurable appreciation of knowing my friend, even if it will be for far fewer days than I'd prefer.
When you think about living your life to the fullest, what does it look like for you?