I’ve seen the great heights,
Reminding me… that I’m alive,
I don’t wanna die,
I don’t wanna waste another day,
I know there’s something more,
Than what we’re living for,
I see it in the stars,
I feel it on the shores,
I know there’s something,
I know there’s something more.
–Tyrone Wells, “More.”
Maybe it takes a walk on the beach, the feeling of the grainy muddy sand under your feet, and the cool salty ocean water splashing with every step you take in order to know you’re alive. Or maybe it takes a hiking trip with your best friends, getting to the peak and looking down at the vastness of the wilderness, the realization that you are small in comparison to know you’re alive. Or maybe it just takes sitting in a classroom, pondering the question that mankind has asked for thousands of years, only to conclude with Descartes’s Cogito ergo sum (“I think therefore I am”). Whatever it takes for you to realize it, you and me–we ARE alive in this moment…for now.
As we’re in our sixth day in the year 2010, I can’t help but remember those #tenyearsago tags on Twitter during New Year’s Eve. Am I really a little more than two decades old? Has it really been a decade since I first entered high school? What have I done these last ten years? I began to think about some of my friends who didn’t make it to 2010, who lost their lives early on either through an accident or a suicide. I remembered the tragedy of discovering that my friends cut themselves because they didn’t look good enough to be on the cover of a magazine.
Oh youth, oh teenage years, where every thing was so dramatic that even an episode of 90210 looked accurate. We thought we were invincible, that nothing could touch us, not even death, so we participated in riskier things. No one has to take an adolescent psychology class to understand that we (my cohorts) were porcelain ten years ago, our egos sensitive and delicate. I fear for our youth and what they have to go through–all the pressure of living up to false images created by us. Even as the suicide rates have increased, I’m glad that it’s not as taboo to talk about it, to find help.
But this isn’t supposed to be a dark or emo post. This is a celebration in our identity of being ALIVE! You should be smiling, dancing even. We take that identity for granted sometimes. Instead, we focus our energies on death and our attention on what we don’t have. *Initiating inside joke now* Maybe that’s why the vampire life (or death, depending on how you look at it) is attractive.
We are ALIVE. Our beating heart pumping the warm blood throughout our bodies reminds us of the next step: doing something worthwhile. I’m learning to number my days, to celebrate what I do have. It can end in a second, I could breathe my last breath. So I choose to live a purposeful life, to help those who need help, to fight for those who cannot fight. Oh, and you’ll see me dancing soon enough, rejoicing this life I’ve been given.
And how about you? In your identity of being alive, you may find yourself asking the same questions I asked myself:
1. How am I wasting my days and night?
2. What can I do that is worthwhile?
3. How do I find meaning or purpose in my life?
4. How do I live a fulfilled life?
I want to leave you with an encouraging song called “More” by Tyrone Wells. I think he says it best: