Before you ask, no this is not an article about having an existential crisis from becoming a vampire. This is about a question I try to ask myself every day. It’s one of the big keys I use to living a happy and meaningful life.
So what’s up with this question? Well, it has a lot to do with routines. Human beings are creatures of habit, and routines are what provide structure and stability in life. In fact, routines are so vital that you won’t find a person who doesn’t have one. You might find somebody who has a loose routine, but everybody has their daily habits.
With routine being such a basic necessity of life, it’s not surprising that there’s also a concern that you can become over-dependent on it. This is when we start embracing routine to a point where we begin to feel stuck. There’s no novelty, no adventure, no exploration. In other words, we find ourselves in a rut. Life feels repetitive, and we feel like our soul is being eaten away at piece by piece as a sense of monotony seeps in.
We also get this when we plan too much for the future. All our effort goes to ensuring we’re happy later, and so we find ourselves doing monotonous, stressful, and exhausting things. We feel trapped, stuck, and like life is eating away at us.
This is where my question comes in. Are you living? When I am asking that I’m not asking whether you are physically alive. I’m asking if you are emotionally alive. When we get trapped in schedules, plans, routine, etc. we feel like we’re just going through the motions, like we’re robots built to do the same thing over and over again– we don’t feel like we’re actually living our lives.
My philosophy is that life is short, and it’s ideal we make the most of it. This is why I ask this question regularly. It’s very easy for us to put life on hold. Sometimes that’s we get too lost in routines, other times it’s we get too focused on planning for the future. So, I always make sure I’m living now, because who knows what tomorrow will bring.
Image provided by Bill Branson.