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We Are Dying, but Are We Living?

January 8th, 2014 | Posted by Veronica Louis in Inspiration | Turning 30

by Veronica Louis

Veronica Louis at 31

Photo: Veronica Louis

Today I turn 31.

Being 30 was a lot about embracing change. At the beginning of the year I was teaching English, in the summer I was writing, by the end of the year I was working full-time at a radio station.

The year started off strong with the clear goal to write a book about being 30. As I neared completing the novel, something went awry within and I lost myself. The ground caved below me and I was swallowed whole.

Truth be told, I was propelled into that dark place when I discovered that I did not get that “dream” writing job I was working towards. Perhaps my confidence took a hit and that everything-is-going-to-be-alright feeling was too faint for me to emerge from my drab disposition.

As usual I found solace in meditation. And with this refound anchor, I pushed through to finish the final chapters of the book. With the rough draft complete, I sighed in relief. Out of the hole, into the light, I felt grounded with a fresh take on life.

I wonder how many times I will keep on relearning the same life lessons.

Life cannot always go the way I want it. I will have my ups and I will have my downs. How I choose to internalize external circumstances is pretty much the only thing I can control. Deep down, I always know this, but once in a while I need to be reminded.

I am who I am right now at this very moment. Delusions of grandeur might be harmless, but they are not real. I am better off spending my energy on making every day count, instead of living in a made-up fantasy of what-can-be.

When I was 8, I almost drowned. At 21, I had an irrational notion that it would be my last birthday. 10 and 23 years down the line and I’m still here. There are no more excuses. No matter how we look at it, we’re all dying. And living, and I mean really living (stripped of fear and excuses), is what we should be doing before then.

The great thing is, it’s never too late.

Perhaps Descartes had it wrong. “Cogito ergo sum” should really be “I live therefore I am.”

My song of the year: David Bowie’s Space Oddity

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6 Responses

  • Alex N says:

    Veronica, thanks again for sharing.

    Your entry reminded me of a quote I had heard by Henri David Thoreau about “living deliberately”. When I first came across those two little words, I was surprised at how much impact seemed tucked within them! Perhaps they –and the larger passage within which they reside– capture some of what you wrote above…

    From Thoreau’s ‘Walden’ (1854):

    “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion.”

    • Beautiful quote! And I totally agree about how so much can be encaptured in these two words, “living deliberately,” because it makes us think if just “living” as in merely being alive, is truly living.

      Walden is indeed an influential piece of work. Most recently, I watched an amazing film on Netflix: Upstream Color where Thoreau’s words play a central role in the plot.

  • Hanna says:

    Thank you Veronica for your answer! Some weeks ago I had this moment of “what am I waiting for, … it’s me who needs to take over and make myself the person I thought i would be at the age of 30”. 30 was something like a magic border in my mind: 30s are determined, grown-up, with both feet on the ground, raising a family, successful etc. 😉
    In my opinion, a lot of people at this age only lost their feeling for themselves while having this vision of how one should be. And while chasing this 30-vision they (me) forgot to recognize what we already achieved.
    Anyway, your post was straightforward and made me smile because I nodded my approval to it.
    Enjoy your 9699 hours and all the best for your journey 🙂

    • I think you bring up a very good point about not forgetting what we have already achieved. I also, think it’s important to be aware of how far we’ve come. Because in a way, every single decision, good or bad, helped us get to where we are now, and with every single decision there was always the opportunity to learn and grow wiser.

      I’m excited for you and for where your next decisions will take you in life. The world really is your oyster.

      And thanks for the best wishes, I think I will enjoy the journey 🙂

  • Hanna says:

    I read your blog post and in some way it touched me and i thought about it for a while. Gonna turn 30 this year and I think I lost my track two years ago and am looking or even waiting for someone to change that… i guess your right, it’s time to live, time to be active. thank you

    • Thanks for writing Hanna. I know exactly what you mean about “losing your track.” But personally, I think you can wait forever for someone to change that only to discover that the answers lied within you all along. I find it helps to identify what we really want, as outlandish as they may seem and start making conscious decisions in our every day life to work towards those goals. Enjoy the journey! Life is a series of endless possibilities. So I’m sure that you will find a way to exploit at least one of these possibilities.

      Thanks again for reaching out!



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