“Don’t be afraid of death; be afraid of an unlived life. You don’t have to live forever, you just have to live.” ~ Tuck Everlasting
Inside each of us lives a secret—the life not taken.
There are moments in which we truly live and centuries in which we die—all the while we hope that somehow we can just get by.
We hold onto the faith that we will end up exactly where we need to be, and that in the end it will turn out to match where we wanted to be, too. We make decisions based on money and narrow our options based on sensibility, yet we always wonder what would happen if we drifted outside of the margins we have grown so accustomed to.
We each have a path that lives unlived inside each of us. The life we deemed too risky to try, the one that made sense to our hearts but not our minds.
But we chose our reality. Maybe the choices were made for us, or maybe through the choices we were made—but ultimately we neglected this life, this almost-what-if.
Yet this life doesn’t die. Instead it lingers on the edges of our memory, sometimes so close it seems as if we could reach out and touch it. Sometimes, it seems this life is still an option.
There are decisions that exist for all of us that can change the entire course of our lives when it comes down to it. We just have to be aware that some choices create walls that confine us, while others plant gardens and open up paths that we never knew existed.
This life business isn’t easy. We don’t receive a rulebook for it nor do we always know how each choice will pan out—yet all of us simply try to do our best. However, I suppose the question is, are we doing our best for the right reasons? What is the right reason for making the choices we do in our lives?
We are each here for a specific purpose in this lifetime, one that our souls signed up for before coming to earth. Some of us are here to balance out our karmic debt, others are here to learn by struggling, some are gifted with ease and abundance, and still there are those whose only purpose in this life is to love.
But, regardless of which purpose our souls were assigned in this life, we can still make the choice to choose happiness.
Oftentimes, it seems something as simple as happiness is a foreign currency that rarely seems to have value against the more materialistic and tangible measures of success. But we often neglect the reality that all of the things in the world we could own—including the life we believe we should be living—can never take the place of true, authentic happiness.
Finding out what makes us happy is scary. It almost seems as if at times, the pursuit of it is a threat to the status quo if we define our happiness differently than the rest of society. That perhaps if we found out what truly made us happy, we would then abandon everything that didn’t support that individual pursuit. We can fool ourselves of many things—our righteousness, our direction, our meaning, perhaps even our satisfaction—yet we cannot fool ourselves into happiness.
Because no matter how we try to fake it, we know deep down when it is not genuine.
Life is as simple as love; it’s we who complicate matters. It’s we who create problems where none exist.
The life that sits below our surface, bubbling with possibility and the allure of authenticity, is there for a reason. It reminds us of our authentic selves. It is quite possibly the life we were born to live.
We can say that everything happens as it’s meant to, and perhaps that is true to some degree, yet that doesn’t mean that sometimes we don’t let fear ruin the beauty that could be. It’s our job in this life to never back down from what speaks in and to our hearts. It’s our mission to never become derailed by the belief that anything else matters more than this.
It’s our purpose to see that our greatest happiness is in our hands.
There isn’t magic in shelving this un-lived life away for greater conveniences or for supposed responsibilities. On the contrary, it’s our greatest tragedy to walk away from everything
But guess what?
The really amazing and beautiful thing is that it’s never too late.
It’s never too late to make the choice to live our previously unlived life.
It’s never too late to be happy.
Our lives are solely in our own hands. While we can elevate others to places of great importance in our lives, ultimately if we are not happy, no one else in our lives will be either. Just as we can’t expect another to be responsible for our happiness, we also can’t take someone else’s upon our shoulders. For that is a weight that eventually will not only crush us, but our dreams as well.
In order to take that un-lived life and reopen it up for exploration, we have to give up fear of leaving our comfort zones and of having others disapprove of our choices. We have to decide to be brave enough to explore whatever avenue our souls feel pulled to.
We simply have to realize that this life is meant to be lived—not just endured. Explored, caressed, loved, and enjoyed until the very last minute on this beautiful planet.
And if we get to the end, and our hearts are full and our bodies weak, then perhaps we succeeded in this life. Just maybe we were not only alive, but also living.
Just maybe we will find that in the end, regardless of our purpose, it’s only happiness and love that truly matter.
Author: Kate Rose
Image: Earvin Corona/Flickr
Editor: Callie Rushton