5 things that make me feel alive

There is a fine line between living and feeling alive and anybody new to adulthood would concur that they have never realized it until the cataclysm, that is, the real-life hit them hard. Every time I catch up with an old friend over a call and I ask them “how’s life”, I get nothing more than a “meh” “it is okay” or sometimes even a straight-up “sucks bro”. These are people of the same age as I am and I wanted to understand what made them just okay with the life they had because honestly, I feel it too. But I don’t want to fall into the abyss of mediocrity with my life. I figured there is something that defines living from feeling alive. I wanted to find out what it was that made me feel alive. And I did.


Love

Obvious isn’t it.? Well, anyone would say that the key to happiness is love and I do not deny it. But I have deciphered what love is on a deeper level and how it makes me feel alive. Plainly put, to feel alive is to be loved. But not everyone is gifted enough to find the one that makes them feel loved. Those are the words of a shallow person. Love is much deeper and denser than what movies show us. It is present everywhere in this universe and all we have to do is comprehend it. A mother’s love for her child, a dog’s love for its owner, a bee’s love for nectar and every action that expresses love is how each one of them feels alive.


Love is not only about receiving but also giving. Feeding the birds, watering the plants, dusting your books and all things that receive your love without being related to you or for selfish reasons is how you give love and feel alive. Love is everywhere and the Earth functions on the concept of love. All we have to do is to find and harness love from every small thing that makes our heart flutter and fill with a sensation of satisfaction.


Work

Work is something that we are accustomed to doing to earn a living in this world. It is our jobs that cause the majority of people to lose their will to work. Why you ask, you know why. In a world of 7.9 billion people, it is not easy to find a job that earns us a moderate living let alone finding a job that we love. It is due to the lack of passion and commitment in the work we do every day, 24x7, we often find ourselves feeling empty. At a certain point, we start questioning the entire point of doing it if we are not happy in the process. To find a dream job that pays for our expenses and earns us a living is a rarity. Life is hard that way.


But the pursuit is what matters. To strive to achieve our ambition and tackling the hurdles in the process is what makes us feel alive. That is what makes me feel alive, as a student, as a UPSC aspirant, that is what makes me look forward to waking up every day and work to achieve my dream job. The early mornings, the syllabus load, the mental fatigue, insomnia and all others are just a price to pay to feel alive, and I choose it.


Nature

We live in a world where time is the master of all. All the time in the world and it is still not enough and we find ourselves complaining about how we are late for a meeting or how there just isn’t enough time to sleep. This shows how demanding the requirements of this era are, leaving all of us with no time to spare to even enjoy a nice hot bath. If we are constantly running to meet the requirements of the world, when is it exactly that we are living? At the end of the day when we look back and try to remember the events of the day, it is only chaos and stress and a forgotten breakfast.


I found myself needing to find peace and serenity and some me-time. And in the month I spent experimenting* with it, I had found a place where time was slow. I found time in the grasps of nature where everything seemed to slow down. Waking up with the sun and going for a walk in the wild, ignoring all blocks of bricks and cement, muting myself from the sirens of all anthropogenic elements and dissolving into the lustful greenery is where I found peace, is where I felt alive.


Communication

All the introverts out there might disagree with this one, but yes, communication is one key aspect in building a social life that keeps us from being sucked into eternal boredom and awkwardness. I, personally, am not one to talk much and with amplified isolation under the pandemic, my social circle has shrunk to my mom and my battery-operated devices. And it had to stop. For the last month, I have been more active on social media and talking with old friends and random people with similar interests (books for example). I feel rejuvenated when I connect with people and I feel like a whole new person or rather the old “pre-pandemic” person who felt alive talking with random cab drivers, kids in the park or homeless guys on the beach. I wish to be able to return to being my old self when this pandemic is over.


Pain

I saved the best for the last. Pain is an inevitable part of human life. It is often related to something being bad, physically and emotionally, and it is true to some extent. Pain sucks. Pain, hurt, discomfort, agony are all matters that we spend our lives running from because we don’t want to face them. Most of us live in constant fear of feeling the pain or we train ourselves to feel nothing at all, like a balloon filled with gas to its threshold, waiting to be burst into an atmosphere of emotions which we shut out in the first place. But failure to suck it up and acknowledge it when it’s right in front of us is called negligence. Been there, done it, and I’ve never been more dead.


I have been negligent to things that might/will cause me pain, the hardships of life, the fear of a career, the loss of a loved one. From time to time, I felt a void, an emptiness inside of me, feeling like a corpse, not being able to discern anything. But now I identify it as the lack of emotions I decided to not visit. My body was craving for pain, a sharp sting that could burst my bubble, a needle impaling through my chest, anything that could make me feel mortal again. Like a vampire for blood, I was craving to feel pain, to grieve, to cry and to find closure with myself and the things haunting me. I was lucky enough to find closure with the loss of my pets but I cannot say the same for everyone I’ve lost but I hope we find closure one day.

The occasional doses of pain that make me cry and grieve is what reminds me that I am very much alive. I’ve learnt to embrace it and you should too.



*P.S. I experimented for almost a month with myself in trying to discover what made me feel alive. These are things that happen to all of us every day for a split second and makes us happy but we never really are conscious enough to acknowledge it in real-time. So I did exactly that by being more self-conscious. I wrote these excerpts under love, work, nature, communication and pain as I was feeling them in the process of self-discovery.



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