Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Livin' Large

Have you ever been out with friends, laughing and dancing past midnight, and felt so alive that the rest of your life seemed to lose its importance in comparison?

I have. And it's a lie. 

Not that staying out late isn't fun. It is. But I think that we youngsters, especially we youngsters who escaped from a small city to a larger one, have a tendency to think that going out is important. 

It's important to us that we create a life different from the one we had before, be that a small town life or just a conflicted teenage life. So we try to "experience life to the fullest" and pepper our conversations with "YOLO." We're not really sure what that means though, so we throw ourselves at big city experiences with the intensity you're supposed to reserve for your life's work, seeking out new spaces to have 5-hour alcohol-fueled conversations with friends until we have to drag ourselves to the subway to go home. We tell ourselves we're living large.

What if we're missing the point? What if blowing off all this steam is a poor subsitute for creating the life we want?

Maybe living in the moment isn't going out on a Tuesday; maybe it's sitting in meditation and feeling peace in the silence. Maybe living large isn't spending all your money to feel cool at a club; maybe it's chasing your dreams and doing the hard, foolish work to make them happen. 

In our twenties, we feel like we have to pack in all our living because once we get "old" we'll turn into family/career zombies, so we pour all our energy into these fun times we think are what we're supposed to do in our twenties. But what if twenties-style fun actually facilitates us becoming zombies later? What if we poured our energy and young foolishness into having impractical goals and creating the life we want, a life that we'd want to live even when we're "old?"

After all, you only live once.  

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