Alive

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A dull journalist standing amongst dull workers in a dull office with dull work to do. 

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A frantic stroll to work.

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The epitome of what it means to be alive. 

A fine layer of dust was evidently existent upon my copy of the novel Walden by Henry David Thoreau. It laid in the corner on top of my drawer inside my closet, with clothes piled near it. My father gave me this book a year ago, insisting it was a “Must-read!” and it contained “sagacious advice.” Yet, I was too naïve –too busy– to open and start reading. It just did not seem worthy of my time.

However, I recently had the fortunate opportunity to blow the dust away from my copy and bring the novel to school as we were studying Thoreau’s work in English class. In fact, I was able to discover one of the most impactful quotes I have ever come across: “To be awake is to be alive. I have never yet met a man who was quite awake. How could I have looked him in the face? We must learn to reawaken and keep ourselves awake, not by mechanical aids, but by an infinite expectation of the dawn, which does not forsake us in our soundest sleep.”

I like to visualize myself as the woman on the hill. I like to tell myself that I’m awake, that I’m alive, that I’m fulfilled. I like to think that what I do each day is genuinely meaningful, that it will lead towards something bigger. But maybe I’ve been to busy pretending to think these thoughts in order to keep myself sane. I brainwash myself on a daily basis so I don’t have to face the simple truth: I am busy but I am not awake.

We all are too busy. We all curse that we have an undersupply of time but an oversupply of tasks to do. We feel “good” about ourselves when we check every single item on our to-do list, but forget about the invisible, unconscious to-do task: figuring out what we are actually passionate about. We applaud at other’s accomplishments and feel especially envious when they achieves goals that relate to what they want to do with their lives. We insensibly think, “Why can’t I be like that? Why can’t I achieve that?” We are ignorant in allowing such emotions take over us, which pulls us into a deep slump where we draw the line between what to do and what we want to do. Let other’s success be not a discouragement, but a reminder to take a step back and think am I doing what I like to be doing? Or am I busily but sleepily living in a loop, allowing decades to slip by?

I’m tired of hibernating. Resting for so long as enabled me to forget how to move, to walk, to take a step into my own dreams and goals and desires. As Thoreau advises us to be awake, I advise you to get up and stretch. Look beyond the mechanical aids that guides us on how to live. Aren’t you exhausted from sleeping too?

 

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