The Starving Activist is the sometimes-home for words. AR Neal (that’s me) finds them, cultivates them, and leaves them here. Enjoy.

From Morning Story & Dilbert: 50 Questions #2

2. What is the difference between being alive and truly living?

I find it interesting that this popped up as today's question.

My answer to it is this:

The difference between being alive and truly living is that lovely space known as peace.

Close your mouth; you'll let in flies. You read correctly. Peace is the difference between being alive and truly living.

Being alive often requires thinking about things deeply, often to the point of being troubled by them.

We worry about health, finances, the state of the country, the rich, the poor, the insured, the uninsured, the free, the imprisoned, the list goes on.

Truly living often requires thinking about things deeply, often to the point of being troubled by them, taking a breath, and then moving on.

Now, mind you, this response is coming from a Christian woman. However, people who adhere to other faiths or who do not believe in a Divine Presence of any kind might agree that being open to the experiences of life in a way that allows the person experiencing it to know their place in it all can be identified as a place of peace.

I am concerned about health and know that I can influence whether I keep breathing a bit longer if I don't eat ice cream for breakfast (at least not every day...), a bowl of candy for lunch, and a cheesesteak for dinner.

I am concerned about my finances and know that I might be able to survive a bit longer without a job if I don't go shopping for clothes, bags, and shoes I don't need.

I am concerned about the state of my country and know that I have the power to vote, contact my state and local representatives, and attend events at which I might be able to join in with others who believe similarly.

I can be concerned about all those things but I realize that (unless I am suddenly crowned Queen of the Earth, at which time I am granted all the power and money and ability...) I can't fix it all.

And just because I can't fix it I shouldn't be a consistently glum fussbudget who takes it out on everyone around me who thinks, feels, sounds, looks, and smells differently.

I breathe in, I breathe out; I take in solids and fluids and release them; I move about with all my limbs: I'm alive.

I stare at the mountains outside my house; I laugh when my dog sneezes; I sigh when I look at the lack of zeros behind the primary integer in my bank account and can still smile when I get a "Thank you for your interest but we've hired another candidate" letter (when I realize after hitting "send" that I didn't really have interest in that job anyway); I can write fantastical stories about a place and time yet to arrive: I'm truly living.

 Questions found here.

Daily Prompt: Our Country 'tis of Thee