Do you ever hear something in passing, and for some reason it sticks and resurfaces throughout the years? One of my favorite songwriters paraphrased Howard Thurman's quote in an interview, "Don't ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive." I've never gotten that idea out of my head, and it has served as benchmark I continue to ask myself: does this make me come alive?
There's a spectrum I see myself floating back and forth on: surviving or thriving. You could call it maintenance or growth, too. Do you have those periods where it feels like you're just trying to get by? Financially, emotionally, spiritually, physically...We often resign ourselves to the pursuits that allow us to maintain the unspoken expectation we think exists on our lives, and as a result, we become uninterested, depressed, and disappointed.
My personality has shifted somewhat in my adult life, probably as a result of increased responsibility. I'm more geared towards having a plan, understanding the "why" behind everything, pursuing knowledge, being practical, thinking realistically, having a healthy amount of skepticism...As a result, I think I've watched a certain amount of passion drain from my life.
We exchange adventure for security and curiosity for certainty (even false senses of it). Of course, there's a healthy balance. I just need to be committed to asking those important benchmark questions in my life:
Am I surviving or thriving? What makes me come alive? What's the highest expression of that thing?
I don't ever want to be one of those older people that always refer to the good ole' days, as if life has passed them by, but I do want to recall the lyrics of a song that blasted through the speakers of many car stereos as life was being figured out from my high school era:
"Cause our days were numbered by nights on too many rooftops, they said we're wasting our lives, oh at least we know that if we die we lived with passion..."
Cartel had one thing right: passion is key. Every person who has ever lived an influential life had it. It's the catalyst that forces the marker forward on the surviving/thriving spectrum.