Wednesday, 1 June 2011

What makes you feel alive?

Me, being 'me'.

What are the things that make you happy?  More than that, what are the things that make you feel alive, glad to be human?

I’ve mentioned Jo Swinney before, and her blog this week initially inspired this post.  Then, I was reading something about doing the things you’re passionate about, those things that set your soul on fire, and so I thought I’d combine the two.  After all, the things that make us feel truly alive and that life is worth living must surely make us happy too, right?  So here is a list of just ten things, in no particular order:

1)  Playing music to a live audience.  I’m not sure what it is about this; maybe it’s the combination of entertaining others, them liking my songs and performance, coupled with that adrenalin rush from the fear of being on stage.  It’s great.

2)  Creating something – a piece of writing, or a song, or a recording, just something that I am proud of and can say, "I did that".  I often imagine it must be a little like how it must feel to be a parent…more on that later!

3)  Talking with those friends and family members who are simply ‘kindred spirits’.  You know who you are; you peeps make my world a better place.

4)  Achieving things.  They don’t have to be big things, but I always feel so much happier if I look back on a day and think, “Wow, I did all I that?!  In one evening/day?!”  It helps me feel like I’m more in control of my life and that I’m not just treading water.  Which brings me to the next one…

5)  Making progress.  I have many projects on the go at any one time – my mind is like that, easily distracted and flitting around from one idea to another.  So, I take pleasure from actually getting somewhere with at least one of them!  But it’s not just about that: I also like to know that I’m getting somewhere towards achieving my life’s goals, or towards my chosen career, or a desired relationship.  I don’t think anything makes me sadder these days than feeling like I’m stuck in a rut…

6)  Coffee and a good book.  Many times I’ve come out of a coffee shop feeling like a new person after just an hour inside.  It’s not rocket science.

7)  Making a connection with someone.  Similar to number three and my ‘kindred spirits’, this one is about finding someone who thinks like me – someone who actually agrees with me on a given subject.  It might not surprise you that it doesn’t happen often!  But when it does, I find it massively affirming.  The world suddenly feels a whole lot less lonely.  It doesn’t really matter what we connect over, recently some of my most exciting conversations have been about Dr Who!  Which either says something depressing about me as a person, or something complimentary about that show!

8)  Being there for someone in need.  I love doing this.  Partly because it makes me feel useful and it’s great to know I helped, but mainly I think I like this so much because it’s fantastic to feel wanted, even needed sometimes.  The fact that they chose me, trusted me with their problem really makes me feel…loved I guess

9)  And so, number nine is: feeling loved.  I guess we all have this, but it makes my top ten because it can be a somewhat elusive feeling.  When it comes though, and I really believe that someone loves me – on whatever level – I feel gleeful (can I get away with using that word?!).

10)  Sharing times with friends.  You know, those days/nights you’ll look back on and say, “Hey dude, do you remember that?  That was awesome!”  Or the moments you’ll laugh about in months to come, “That was ridiculous!!”  Making memories, that’s what this is about.  Which of course works on two levels – you get the enjoyment of the time itself, and then you get the pleasure, maybe even years later, of remembering the moment…

With the exception of number six (I didn’t want you all thinking I’m too deep…!), I think my list can be summed up by two things: creating and connecting.

My guess is that these desires are things we all have in common: the desire to connect with another human being, and the desire to create something other – other than ourselves, apart from our own existence.

Perhaps this is why people talk about the joy of parenting so much.  For this could be just about the only way of fulfilling both criteria completely: connecting with another person, enough to have a baby with them, and creating another human being, entirely separate, autonomous, new.  And not only that, you then get to have a relationship with them as well, as their parent.

Who knows whether I’ll ever get to find out if I’m right…but until then, I’ve got my stories, my songs, my blog posts…

I'd be interested to know what's on your lists, if you feel like sharing...

1 comment:

  1. A somewhat contrived alliterative four f's from me ... faith (knowing there's someone bigger than me), fatherhood (knowing someone smaller than me), food (eating good stuff, even better with good friends) and football ... so even if the three previous f's aren't making me happy enough, there's always something grim to give me a bit of perspective!