What makes you feel truly alive? What activity/hobby/passion puts you on top of the world even when everything else in life is dragging you down? What is your thing?
My thing - one of them anyway - is writing. And when I'm not writing, I feel like I'm not getting in touch with the best parts of myself. When I'm not writing I tend to lose my sense of perspective and even my sense of humor. When I'm not writing, I start to feel inept and talentless. I feel reduced to idiocy. I lose confidence. I feel as if I'm drifting instead of moving with purpose. I feel half-alive, if that. Basically, when I'm not writing at all I feel as if I'm dying.
Lately I've been doing a lot of work that doesn't involve writing. There is a whole lot of work for today's modern "writer" that doesn't involve writing. There are websites (that often don't work as they should), and blogs (that often don't work as they should), and marketing concerns, and social media pages (oh, the painful, ridiculous, flimsy, fleeting world of social media! But I'll save most of that rant for another time.) There are just so many non-writing "writing items" to cram into a life that already involve bills and cooking and shopping and cleaning and every other bit of humdrum maintenance. Life can quickly become about everything that isn't THE THING, and that's when I start to notice strange sensations overtaking my body.
I start to notice a buzzing, heavy sense of dread settle deep into my chest. I start to feel trapped by life instead of connected with it. I start to feel a wolf circling. And sooner or later, I realize that I might be feeling this way because I've forgotten to feed my soul by doing my thing. I've forgotten that I need to do my thing in order to feel good about life. I need to do that thing if I want to feel as if my life is my own and not just some disposable string of calendar days that others can control or dismiss for me.
Maybe your thing - or one of them - is fitness. Maybe it's guitar or piano or painting or gardening or fishing or photography or taking on projects with your kids. Maybe it's day trips with the wife or husband. Maybe it's writing greeting cards for a company you plan to launch in the future, or maybe it's writing movie reviews for a future website you have planned (hopefully one that comes with great customer support). Maybe your thing is camping or more extensive traveling. But whatever your thing is, you've probably noticed a dark sense of numbness or dread settle over you when you've been away from it for too long.
So even though life gets busy and complicated - or maybe because life gets busy and complicated - we need to cling to our things and carve out time for them. If not, we die. Maybe not all at once - probably little by little - but we suffer an eventual cheapening of life. Something feels off. The quality of our days drops and our happiness becomes elusive.
So keep doing your thing, even if the rest of life is tugging on your arm and telling you that it's time to get in the house and do your chores. And if you've been away from your thing for a while, then get back at it so that the sun comes out again. It's never too late to do what you want to do with your time. Life's never too busy or too serious to be happy. Do your thing and feel alive. We deserve to feel fully alive.