Oscar Wilde once said: “To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all”. This sums up the dilemma of today’s society: We live in a world of excess, we have more than we need, yet at the same time people are unhappier than ever.
In our fast paced lives, we focus so much on success, money and work that many of us have forgotten the real reason we are on this planet: we are here to live.
But what does living mean?
First, let me start off by telling you what it doesn’t mean.
Living isn’t working at a job you hate for ridiculous hours, counting down the days to the weekend or to your next vacation. It doesn’t mean silencing the voice inside you (your intuition), that is telling you that you are on the wrong path, and just keep pushing through nonetheless.
Living isn’t starring at screens the whole day. It is not looking at your TV and phone, observing other people’s lives and envying the false perfection, whilst you forget to live your own.
Living isn’t about what your life looks like- it is about what it feels like. You may have a fancy car, a nice watch or amazing position in a company- it is all worthless if it doesn’t make you happy. Living is about the small things not the big ones (see this article).
“To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all”
– Oscar Wilde
A lot of people have the following attitude: If it doesn’t look good on our CV it is not worth pursuing. But let me tell you: its those off path experiences that will never make it onto your CV that will make you the happiest. The moments that you won’t even be able to put into words or even share with anyone who wasn’t there are the ones when you are truly living.
When I do something I love from the bottom of my heart, like write a meaningful article or travel to a special place, I sometimes get goose bumps, just because it reminds of what it feels like to be alive and to love life.
We have grown up into a world where we have been thought to place ourselves into a shell that reflects on the outside what we should be, but keeps our true wishes and dreams hidden on the inside. Oh how much easier it is to tell people you want to become a lawyer or study business than it is to explain to your parents why you want to become an actor or writer.
Living means peeling yourself out of the shell, being true to yourself and saying: Hey, this is what I want, this is what makes me happy and I don’t care what everyone else thinks.
What’s the point in pursuing a career you dislike, studying something you have no interest in or dating someone you don’t love? All this does is eat away from the limited time we have on this planet, since everything you do without love and passion is pretty much wasted time and will only leave you with regret.
Living is about feeling alive. We all have different moments that make us feel alive. Someone might feel the most alive after having solved a difficult math equation, whereas someone else might feel the happiest after a long night of dancing.
Living means going out for a walk to watch the sunset. It means appreciating the people in your life and making time for them, because your friends family should always come first. Living means getting on that plane or in that car and exploring new places. Living means dancing all night and doing stupid things that you will remember in 10 years. It means taking your time to laugh until your stomach hurts, to kiss until you head is spinning, to breathe until your lungs are actually filled with air and to live every second until there are none left.
Remember all of the moments you have truly felt alive.
Now make it your goal to have as many moments like that in your life as possible.
This post isn’t about encouraging you to quit your job, travel to an island and sip on coconuts all day.
No, it more so is a reminder to myself and to everyone who reads this is that live is short and that the goal should be to feel alive as much of the time as possible.
A magical moment: watching the sunset over Crete on the plane