How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.
— Henry David Thoreau
Well, it’s spring break of my last quarter in college and you’d think I was writing this blog post from Cabo. Maybe a little fishing town in some port in Greece. Hell, even five miles south of my apartment would be something different.
But no. No, no, no. Here I am. On the second day of break. Sitting in the library. In front of a computer. Typing.
I guess I could look at exotic pictures on Google images. Maybe even make it my desktop so the picture would be as large as possible. But for some reason, that doesn’t seem like it would be the same.
I even tried making myself a mojito, purchased a little handheld fan, grabbed my spray bottle and filled it with salt water, and stared at the beaches of Brazil on the computer screen. Yet surprisingly, it didn’t recreate the feelings I expected it would (though this probably had something to do with the librarians whisper-shouting at me for bringing alcohol into the library).
In fact, nothing outside of actually making the trip itself would have been adequate. For it’s one thing to fabricate life through video games, literature, and movies. And it’s something entirely different to live it.
Even if it’s just a walk down the street, a trip to the bowling alley, hanging out with someone you don’t really like, it’s still living. But if we just let the earth’s rotational spin keep us tethered to our couches or laz-e-boy recliners, we’ll never have the memories that inspire us to write. That remind us that we lived.
Recently, James Cameron, the author and creator of the imaginative Avatar movie, a self-made gajillionaire, made a record-setting trip, by himself, to the depths of the ocean floor. He said it was like going to another world and coming back. And although we don’t have the funds to make a similar trip, just a good discussion with someone, in a place you’ve never been before, can stimulate the imagination, reawaken sleeping neurons, invite you back into the world of the living.
You always hear comments about how life’s too short, but more importantly, life’s too ridiculous to live crouched inside your home (unless of course its spent reading this blog post). There are too many forests undiscovered, hills never climbed, conversations never had. Life was not meant for the unliving (well, at least until the zombie apocalypse), so take advantage of being alive and the life around you.
So the next time your parent or your sibling or your crazy aunt with the super long hair and cat fur jacket invites you to do something you think sounds boring or stupid or altogether antagonistic to everything you imagine to be fun in life, join them.
The next time you’re invited to go on a nature walk, have a meal with someone you’re not close with, go sky diving, pirate fighting, or board a rocket ship to the Alpha Centauri galaxy, go along. Have fun. Learn something from the boredom. Take away something for the craziness.
For the rest of your life you’ll be able to sit on your butt, staring at some pixels, listening to someone else’s adventure. However, you won’t always be able to make that same adventure for yourself.
It’s an odd sensation to be alive, but it’s one we should have the courage to explore to the depths of its insanity.