I remember growing up and hearing people say that they were surviving when asked how they were doing. To be honest, I think that I’ve said it myself when asked how I was doing. It reminds me of Adele’s song Love in the Dark; there’s a part where the lyrics say “But I want to live and not just survive”. It makes me think that that’s the goal, not just to survive, but to thrive.
What’s the difference? I think that surviving is about going through the motions. You’re not working towards any goals in particular. You’re doing what you have to do to support yourself and your family and any dreams you might have had have been tucked away in the name of being a responsible adult.
Thriving to me, is about working to create the life you truly want, and not accepting the status quo as a given. It’s about having a willingness to take steps outside your comfort zone and really stretching yourself. It’s about continuous learning and not allowing your current situation to dictate your future.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying that in order to thrive you should toss your responsibilities to the side. Bills still need to get paid, your family needs you and there are only so many hours in the day! The idea of “having it all”, where we can take care of our families and live our dream life can seem impossible.
I’m not ready to give up on having it all. I just don’t think that you can have it all on your way to having it all. Sacrifices and compromises will have to be made. It’s not going to be an easy ride and there are going to be times when you wonder if it’s all worth it. Trust me, I’ve been there.
The thing that keeps me from throwing in the towel is knowing what’s really important to me. I have a vision for the life I want to create for myself and I know what I’m willing (and not willing) to do to make it a reality. I want that vision to become a reality so badly that quitting isn’t an option. I experience disappointments, but I choose not to let them discourage me from continuing to work on the big picture.
For most of us, surviving isn’t enough. We want to live a fulfilling life without regrets. When we hear about the sudden passing of someone we know we talk about how it serves as a reminder that life’s too short. We say we’re reminded that we should live life to the fullest and take nothing for granted. Unfortunately the reminders are short lived and we go back to our daily routine. That nagging feeling that there has to be more to life doesn’t go away. We get to choose whether we completely ignore that feeling or we do something about it. What are you choosing?