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Living vs. Existing

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Joslyn Graves looks out over the main parking lot.

Joslyn Graves looks out over the main parking lot.

Jaden Purifoy

Jaden Purifoy

Joslyn Graves looks out over the main parking lot.

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Some people spend their lives in a cubicle that only fuels their frustrations, while some spend their lives cherishing family and the material things they’ve accumulated. Others spend their lives searching for what their life even means.

Life is confusing, and sometimes it doesn’t even feel real. Sometimes, there are moments when life seems like a figment of someone else’s imagination. Whatever life is, there has to be a difference between living and existing.

At first, they sound like the same thing. But while you have to exist in order to live, I don’t think you can live while solely existing.

Existing is equivalent to being on autopilot. Existing is going through each day pondering the “what ifs” and hopes for the future without making any effort to see the hopes come true. It’s taking the same route to class each day without paying attention to who’s around you or feeling how warm the sun is or seeing how the rain perks up the dry grass.

I remember waking up on New Year’s Day thinking about how little living I had actually done throughout 2017. It felt like the only memorable things that I did happened over the summer.

I spent the rest of that day hiking and thinking about what living really was and whether I was doing enough of it.

I saw my mom bend down to take a picture of some icicles hanging off of a cliff, and she laughed at her own reference to “The Office.” Her laughter was a melody sweeter than tea. It felt like the world slowed down.

Each breath in felt crisp, and I felt the cold biting at the tips of my ears and nose. I took in all of the shades of the setting sun, and I heard the soft padding of a trail dog’s paws against the frozen dirt.

Even though it was only a few seconds of hypersensitivity, and it wasn’t necessarily anything noteworthy, I felt alive. It felt like I was living with the same level of intensity as I was during the summer, where every day was warm and vibrant and each day was filled with laughter of friends and music.

I don’t think that people can live so intensely each moment of their life. I think truly living is getting to experience certain moments where everything slows down, and suddenly every color is rich enough to feel the difference between living and existing.

For the days that seem to never end, and the days that just seem dull and gray with nothing to offer, take a chance on a what if. Talk to someone new. Take a different way to class. Go on a walk, or just take a break and binge watch an old show you haven’t seen in a while, because just because nothing memorable is happening doesn’t mean you don’t have the chance to live.

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