Are you alive or just living?
Monday, August 13, 2012 at 9:24PM
John Strain

If you are reading this, you are alive. Your heart is beating, the nerve receptors in your brain are firing. Your eyes sense color and motion. Voices, music, and the ticking of a clock are discerned from tiny vibrations interpreted by your ears. You are breathing, you have a pulse - but are you alive?

Physiology is one definition of alive. Just like whispering is sound and candle light is  light. These things are continuums. From a whisper to a thunder clap. From a candle to the sun, sound and light take many forms. Being alive is no different. One's existence can be a boring, unsatisfying routine or something that challenges and beckens one to dream, to strive, and to risk - all for something better.

The things we take for granted today were miracles yesterday. The dreams we follow today will be tomorrow's miracles. Thomas Edison, The Wright Brothers, and so many others followed their own path. They broke with convention. They paid no heed to the smart money betting against them. If you need inspiration from others, you will not advance beyond the dream stage. If you have a passion or a calling you will advance; driven by an internal fire. 

Life is short. The old man or woman wonders where the years have gone. Even a hundred years seem few when you are in your 90's. Time ticks on. Your routine repeats. One day disolves into the next. What accomplishments mark your time? How long ago were they? What are you pursuing today? What gets you up in the morning? What is your passion?

Life is a gift. With every breath, and each second, every smile, each kind word, and every helping hand - all give meaning and satisfaction to our life.

What have you yet to do? What have you been meaning to do? Who do you love that you have not told? 

If you were to die this very night, what would you most miss? What would you regret not doing? What words have you kept to yourself. Do your friends and family know you? Would they know how you feel about them?

When are you going to take that vacation? When are you going to take that course, fix up the house, landscape the yard? When will you visit the nursing home or give money to the cause that you believe in?

You've been meaning to get a pet? You want to learn French? Take piano lessons? Write that novel?

Just do it. Just do it. Just do it.

The hour glass has a limited amount of sand. Your body is breaking down. There is never enough money. Excuses are easy. Plans are easy. 

How do you want your obituary to read? 

Write your obiturary now, then work backward and make it true. This involves work and effort, but it pays off in peace and satisfaction. Just like Andy said to Red in the Shawshank Redemption - "You need to get busy living or get busy dying."

Here's to being alive and here's to really living.

Until the next time

John Strain

Article originally appeared on John's Online Journal (
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