Are You Truly Living

What is the difference between being alive and truly living?

truly living
Are you truly living?

by Jonathan Hilton

All people are going to answer this question differently depending on where they are in their life.  To me being alive is a fact of nature, and enjoying life and living for a purpose is truly living.  But how do you enjoy life?

Other people will answer this very differently.    It only takes a few visits to any number of blogs to experience the wide variety of philosophies and beliefs that exist.

Young people are struggling to master life, yet so hopeful about living it is encouraging   While older people are resigned to the fact that you may never figure it out everything there is to know about life, but they share their thoughts and experiences.

One of the things I like about reading so many different people’s opinions is to be exposed to ideas that are different from mine. Valid yet different and I think that is a powerful force of growth.  These are my thoughts on truly living.

The problem with Life

For me there is a question that came to me as I got older and thought that I was on the

questions about living
We all have questions, I know I did.

path I should be on. After carefully contemplating the experiences I have been fortunate enough to have in life I came to the conclusion that being alive was not enough and that I needed to start truly living and for me that meant I had to make a lot of changes in my perceptions of people, life, God and everything that at one time I was sure of.

I wasn’t sure what was “right”, but I knew there was more to life than a conditioned accumulation of material goods to supply comfort to life.

What comfort did I ever give to others? What did I contribute? Even as an educator, I was contributing stories about living which happened long ago, espousing the morals and actions that young people should aspire to follow, with the awareness of the world around me the size of the head of a pin.

I don’t think I  consistently enjoyed what life gave me. There are easy things to enjoy and appreciate, like those we love, and those that love us, a sunny, beautiful day, a large sum of money, all of these can be easily enjoyed, but how many people pass through a day without having gratitude for anything in their life, because they are too busy looking at what they don’t have.

I was one of these, searching for the right amount of stuff that would bring happiness with it. I never found that.

 The Past

Future past and present sign in the sky
Which direction do you follow?

One of the biggest problems people face,when trying to truly live is that they always seem to distract themselves from the moment they are currently experiencing.

Perhaps spending time with someone you love, reading a book, exercising, or doing whatever it is you do, because you allow yourself to be distracted by things that make you feel the moment you are in is not a good enough thing.

One distraction is the past, which often allows you to reminisce about the past and feel that things were so much better back then, when you were happy.

Often the past is not quite what we remember it to be and it really doesn’t matter in the scope of today.  It is over and gone, good or bad and to short change today for yesterday is selling something tangible and of extreme value for  nothing but a fantasy.

Often I had looked to the past to the good old days, which were nice memories, but other than lending experience to today, couldn’t help make me very happy or allow me to truly live.

 The Future

Others choose to focus on the future, planning and scheming the best way to route their lives to get to the point where finally they will be happy.  They think that if they  do this particular thing, at this particular time then I will be happy, satisfied, successful, or whatever.

The problem with this is that when you put all of your focus onto tomorrow you miss the great things that are happening today.  You can prepare for the future with the actions of today and enjoy today at the same time, the difference is that you don’t put anything off, like being happy and satisfied with life or anything else. Tomorrow may never come and rarely does it happen as you plan, so putting happiness off is a bad gamble that will most likely never pay off.

I’ll Be Happy When I am Rich

Materialism is another distraction that keeps people from enjoying the moment, often it goes hand in hand with waiting for the future, but tying your happiness into the acquisition of some material thing is going to stop you from appreciating today, because you are going to be thinking that happiness is going to come when you get that house, or car, or Ipad or whatever.

The satisfaction of that acquisition will be short-lived and soon you will be looking for the next thing that should bring happiness and satisfaction to your life, as you ignore the opportunity for happiness that you have in your experience today. Being grateful for what you have will allow you to enjoy the day. If you don’t believe me, then try it.  Be truly grateful for what you have.

Your Choice

choice for life
You can choose if you are alive or truly living

So truly living to me is the appreciation of what life is giving you right now in this moment.

That doesn’t mean that it will always be perfect. Sometimes there are painful things in life, and we have to deal with feelings that are not so nice, people get sick, accidents happen, people die, life is not perfect and there is no guarantee that everything is going to go your way.

However, there is a choice that comes pinned to each of those experiences to make it a positive or a negative factor in your life.  Only you can decide for yourself the difference between being alive and truly living.

What does truly living mean to you?

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15 thoughts on “Are You Truly Living”

    1. How did I know you would like Rihanna? Thank you for commenting and reading my humble work. It makes my day to hear from you!

  1. Well written and incredibly motivating! One thing I’ve noticed about you is that you really do care about what others are blogging about and you take the time to give honest comments, not many people take the time to do this and perhaps like you said they are missing out on learning about all the different perceptions and philosophies others have to offer, but not you… you actually take the time to read what other bloggers take time and effort to write, so a BIG Thank You Jonathan. And thanks for reminding us that living in the moment and appreciating the now is something we should all do more often, I totally agree!

    1. Thanks Raimy, I do really try to read and think about what someone is writing about. Whether it is about their soul, a new creative thought, or their hair. It is important enough to write down, it is important enough to read. I don’t always agree but I always appreciate the efforts and thoughts behind writing about anything. One of my favorite bloggers writes great movie reviews and cooking recipes. I don’t watch those kinds of movies or cook, but they teach something.
      Your writing in fantastic and you are very much speaking my language. I really can’t believe that you are so self aware at such a young age. It is amazing and I respect you for it. I learn from your blog and your writing. Like I said, I can’t wait for the next post. I am grateful for your comments here and your thoughts and writing!

  2. Awesome post Jonathan! I always think about this and I’ve actually written about it back in the days when my blog was younger on a daily prompt about living life forward but examining it backwards, if you know what I mean. Truly living is different and sometimes it just about enjoying every moment in life because there’s always seeing something better. Like when I have a crappy day, I don’t sit around moping (at least I try) but to find just a hint of good that happened that day. Sometimes its the most insignificant thing but it just makes me smile and thats already living for me. To truly live to me is to be happy with what we have but also looking forward to our future and learning from out past but never forgetting that the present is where we are :)

    1. Thanks Kim, I somehow have a hard time picturing you moping around. How would you have time to watch Valentine’s movies? I know what you mean about insignificant things making you smile. It happens all the time. Thank you so much for the comment I value your opinion a lot!

      1. Don’t flatter me that much. I mope all the time. Especially about my job which is kind of devaluing what I just said. But its the whole building experience advantage that keeps me there. And the whole flexibility to figure out what I really want..haha!

        And how could I not find time for just movies, doesn’t even have to be Valentine’s…they are my escape :)

        1. If your job makes you mope, then soon your job will be going, I bet. Figuring out what you really want, what a scary proposition. I have spent a lot of time on that one myself. Set your intent, take action, what you want will happen. I know sounds simple, but try it. Do you know what you want? I have found that you need a destination before a journey can begin. You obviously have talent and intellect so the sky is the limit, set your site on whatever you want. You will know it because it will make you happy inside. :-)

          1. I have set myself a destination and right now its actually doing the part of walking towards it bit by bit..taking some courses to help with the foundation and all that this year :) Hopefully it will bring me more happiness than what I’m doing now :) Thanks for the encouraging words Jonathan!

  3. Love this, Jonathan. I agree that finding gratitude in the moment is the key. Great reminder. I also agree with Raimy that your sincerity is a breath of fresh air. By the way, I used to work in education as well. We are so similar. Thankful to have you as a BBF.

    1. That is so funny that you were in education. I appreciate your comment, I just try to say what I think about the writing, I get so much motivation and creativity from other peoples writing it is awesome. Thanks for commenting, I always enjoy hearing from you. Enjoying the moment! You are the man, Kozo!

Let me know your thoughts.