Think of a time in your life that you felt most alive. I mean really, truly exhilarated and free. Free to have fun, to make mistakes, to take risks, to go wherever and do whatever and to be worry free.
One time in my life that I felt truly alive was around my sophomore year of college. At the end of my freshman year, I went through my first heartbreak. Everyone has to go through it, and it sucks because you’re so young and innocent and it feels like your world stops spinning. You feel so lost. It consumes you because you haven’t developed coping mechanisms yet. It’s tradition. A right of passage into adulthood, really.
However, looking back, it was somehow a beautiful time for me. I was 18 years old and had the world at my finger tips. I had the chance to figure out who I was and what excited me (and who I wasn’t and what bored me). I had the time to explore and have fun, and to let loose. I had the time to figure out what sets my soul on fire.
The first thing I did was book a flight to see my friend in Charleston, South Carolina. It was my first time flying on my own, and I was kind of nervous. I was leaving my small town, I was on my own, but I was alive. I remember being down there and seeing all of these new things and meeting so many people so far away from my little corner of the world. I remember thinking to myself, “I’m really living. I don’t hurt. I feel so alive. The world is spinning madly on and so am I.” I felt alive.
I came back home and I really focused on myself. I would wake up every morning and head to the track. Sometimes I would take a nice walk at night to clear my head. It was so quiet and peaceful. I still find that peace when I return to the track now, years later. I would listen to my music and run and run until my heart felt like it was going beat out of my chest and my legs felt like they would give out. I felt the tranquility of the morning sun shining down on me before most of the town had even brewed their morning coffee, and I felt accomplished. I walked into many sunsets and felt empowered, soaking in my newfound independence. I had found peace, I had found happiness and a place of belonging. I had found what set my soul on fire. I had found myself. I felt alive.
Once I found that place for myself, I was all of a sudden surrounded by new people who made me feel so exhilarated and free. My days were full of self exploration and my nights were full of long talks with good music and new people. It was the sweetest breath of fresh air for me. I felt alive.
The summer came to an end, and I wondered if I could keep this feeling I had come to cherish. I transferred schools to UMaine, and I was so excited for a new start. Every day felt like an adventure. When the fall rolled around, I didn’t lose that feeling. In fact, it grew everyday. I was in a whole new world, even though I was only 20 minutes away from my old school. I had a completely different friends group and was constantly meeting new people. I had an absolute blast. I felt so free. I felt alive.
Now, three years later, I am a college graduate with my Master’s degree. That’s why you go to college, right? To get a degree, to be successful, to use that $50,000 piece of paper to turn your life into something great… Right?
What about that feeling? That feeling of pure happiness? That feeling of absolute exhilaration and adventure? Feeling alive.
It’s looking at your significant other and feeling on fire. It’s looking at yourself and feeling what Kanye feels when he looks in the mirror or when he touches Kim K’s butt. It’s that feeling you get when the server brings your food, or when you realize it’s Taco Tuesday and they’re a dollar each. It’s that feeling you get when you see a puppy, or you’re driving on a sunny day with the windows down and your favorite song competing with the wind. Find what makes you feel alive in your every day life.
We all tend to lose sight of that as time goes on, and we can’t let that happen. We need to feel that way throughout our whole lives to drive us and push us and to feel fulfilled. We need to feel alive in all that we do or we aren’t living, we are just exhisting.
Find that feeling. Find what sets your soul on fire. Find what makes you feel the most alive.