Are You Living?

Are you living?

I ask you, dear reader, this question that I have begun to ask myself lately.

I do not mean it to be dramatic nor hyperbolic. Instead, I am curious as to what everyone’s honest answer is, including and especially my own.

At first, this may seem like an easy question to answer. Yes, of course we are all living. By virtue of opening this article on our device(s) and reading it, I prove that I am alive. “I think, therefore I am”.

Of course I mean to ask more than are we all alive. By living, I mean to ask are we actively present and experiencing our environment on a daily, hourly, or minute-by-minute basis.

This may be where the question becomes a tad bit more complicated than you first thought. Or maybe you are in a similar state of mind as I am and knew exactly what I meant when I asked you the question.

I was reading a National Geographic magazine article recently that discussed the next step in the evolution of the human race. More specifically, it discussed how we have begun to tamper with our own evolutionary process via the advancements in science and technology. The piece stated the following statistic: “Nielsen reported in 2015 that the average adult over 18 spent roughly 10 hours a day looking at a screen. (By comparison, we spend 17 minutes a day exercising.)”.

This factoid put me on a mental tangent, thinking back to my own day, my own week: I wake up, commute to work, sit in front of a screen from 9am to roughly 6pm (sometimes later), commute back home, exercise in some form or fashion, then do some combination of blogging/video editing/reading/television watching before going to bed. Then I repeat. Oh, I also use my cell phone throughout most of the day.

Thinking about my work week in this way made me come to the uncomfortable realization that I spend nearly all of my waking hours absorbed in the screens of various devices. Whether for work or pleasure, my attention and my eyeballs are directed towards something that is artificial.

Why did this make me uncomfortable? It is because I realized that, in essence, my life has become almost entirely dedicated, even reliant, on any piece of technology that allows for viewing media or data.

If you haven’t done so already, you might be coming to the same realization as you read this.

Our culture, or the market, has become so infatuated with watching/reading/analyzing wherever they might be, that cell phone makers are now coming up with devices with selling points based around how their screens are the crispest, most pixellated, and largest in the industry.

Before I follow this line of discourse any further, or even explore the topic of how the necessity to work the hours we do in the US has a negative impact on the time we have for ourselves, allow me to digress to my original question.

Are you living?

For all the wealth of information and entertainment we are now offered, it feels like we actually experience less on a personal level. Instead we pay to watch others experience for us.

This is what makes me ask the question of whether you, or I, or any of us are truly living anymore.

My personal belief is that life should be about doing and encountering the world and all it has to offer through your own actions.

When I look at my current life, I must honestly admit that I do not like what I see.

I work full time. I blog. I film. I read. I exercise. I perform as a professional wrestler. I listen to music. I occasionally hang out with friends over a drink.

If you were to dissect my activities, you would find that the professional wrestling might be the only activity that gets me outside and puts me in situations I might not otherwise find myself in. Nearly everything else, at least for the moment, has me stationery and in front of a computer/tv/cell phone screen.

What about you?

Are you living?

I do not want my life to be static. I do not wish to spend such an overwhelming amount of my time in front of a screen while the world has so much to offer.

I am well aware that most of us can’t quit our jobs tomorrow and then go trekking through Europe. I do feel, however, that there must be some way to provide financially for one’s self, and one’s family, while also actually living.

This is more than a desire to chase my dreams. This feels deeper. It is a yearning to do more than simply be alive. This is a want, a need, to live.

Are you living?

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