The Difference Between Being Alive And Living: Your Life Should Be More Than Just Breathing

by Lauren Martin

To be alive is to breathe. It’s to take in oxygen and release carbon dioxide. It’s to take in clean air and breathe out toxic air. It’s pretty much the easiest thing you do.

It’s so easy that a lot of us become pretty complacent in just doing that for the rest of our lives, just breathing in and out. Staring at computer screens, breathing in and out.

Getting that degree your parents want, breathing in and out. Getting a job, breathing in and out. Walking home from work, breathing in and out.

It’s no accomplishment to be alive. It’s no big thing to breathe, walk, run, feed yourself and sustain the necessary life support it takes to keep your body healthy and working. It’s really nothing that great to keep yourself alive, I mean, we all do it.

The really accomplished, the ones people talk about, are those who have actually learned how to truly live. Those who did more than just breathe in and out.

Because there is a huge difference between being alive and living. To be alive is to be stagnant. It’s to let the current drag you through the rhythms and motions as you hold your breath.

It’s standing still on the escalator that perpetually moves upwards. It’s letting people pull you towards the finish line, your body flopping unconsciously against the ground.

Living is something completely different. Living is taking someone’s breath away, losing your breath at moments and forgetting to breathe. It’s almost the opposite of being alive, because living will always be closer to death.

Living is refusing to let the rhythms of life drown you into submission. Living is never missing a moment. It’s screaming in agony, gasping for breath. It’s laughing until you can’t catch your breath.

It’s crying until you’d rather just never breathe again. It’s the feeling that everything could end in a moment and you’d be ready for it.

Living isn’t about preserving your breaths, counting them, watching them go in and out. It’s about forgetting to breathe, delving into passions and opportunities, swimming against the current and almost drowning.

Living is what you do with those breaths, those moments. It’s how you make your own path, dance because there’s no other way to express yourself and experience heartbreak.

It’s how you fight with your lovers, shouting because words are failing you and chasing your dreams until you’re nothing but a wrinkled, exhausted reflection of who you used to be.

It's loving your children so much it hurts, sacrificing your happiness for others and losing yourself in a guitar solo. It's painting until you forget your sorrows, having meaningless sex to forget the sting of a broken heart and loving every single goddamn bite of that red velvet cupcake.

It’s burning out and falling down. It’s failing and fighting back. It’s running until you’re out of breath and passing out. It’s being wild and untamed. It’s never stopping, always looking and never be complacent.

Those who are just alive don’t notice the way the trees look when it rains or what it feels like to jump out of a moving plane. They don’t experience the pitfalls and the wonders of life. They never see the simple joys in the everyday things or create memories that will be recalled generations later.

They never get lost in the moment or find themselves navigating foreign water. They never get surprised by the unknown and excited by the impossible. They never get there because they are too busy remembering to breathe.

Being alive is breathing, truly living is forgetting to exhale.

Being alive is a pulse, truly living is a racing heart.

Being alive is a state, truly living is crossing all of them.

Being alive is easy, truly living is hard to give up.

Being alive is a gift, truly living is being present.

Being alive is watchful eyes, truly living is never closing them.

Being alive is in your skin, truly living is jumping out of it.

Being alive is day-by-day, truly living is sunrises by sunsets.

Being alive is comfortable, truly living is breaking comfort zones.

Being alive is free, truly living means spending every minute.

Being alive is doing your part, truly living is having a million.

Being alive is understood, truly living is always seeking answers.

Photo via Tumblr