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4 January 2011, 4:00 pm No Comments

Being Alive in 2011

This post was submitted by Troy Chatterton

Being Alive, 2011.

What makes YOU feel alive – seriously alive?!

It’s a question worth asking anytime, but especially now that we begin 2011.

Think back over the last twelve months and ask yourself– “What brought me most fully alive?”

  • A project at work
  • A conversation
  • A particular person
  • Dancing
  • Making love
  • Playing a sport
  • A theater experience
  • Creating something
  • Being with family
  • The possibilities are many.

It’s the great human challenge. Isn’t it? The challenge of going about life in away that is responsible, engaged, imaginative, and honest. It seems that taking risks, and being fearless is part of the “Being Alive” equation.

To see someone fully alive is undeniable, even contagious. Think of Rafael Nadal playing tennis. Julia Child at the stove. Martin Scorcese talking about films.

Being alive, is to be present, understood, vulnerable, bold, and capable of being surprised and off balance. “Being Alive” the starting point for this piece, is beautifully, and heroically sung by Raul Esparza. Sondheim gets at the center of what it means to want to be alive for all human beings.

Being alive can even come in the form of a private understanding of a problem that’s been puzzling you for some time. “Eureka!”

Yet, sometimes it is hard won, and getting to that moment of realization, satisfaction, or joy is a long arduous process. Yet when we do – we feel thrillingly alive. Wide awake to the joys of life.

Feeling fully alive can occur in the collective – the passing and President Obama’s signing of the DADT Repeal comes to mind.

Or being one of thousands in a stadium watching a favorite singer perform and suddenly feeling like you’ve become a part of something bigger than yourself. Let Tina Turner show you exactly what I mean.

Or two people, in a bed, making love.

Being alive is ongoing. Its intensity varies. It isn’t a place we arrive and park.  We continually move forward, working toward what’s next.

I feel most alive with an old friend who hasn’t lost his or her freshness or enthusiasm. Or somebody new that sparks interest with smarts and wit. Which reminds me of a quote by Tony Kushner found in an essay at the end of ‘Angels In America Part Two: Perestroika’:

“The smallest indivisible human unit is two people, not one; one is fiction. From such nets of souls societies, the social world, human life springs.”

Be daring. Be persistent. Care deeply. Fight if you must. Love! Insist on being alive.

Bonus: Just to drive “Being Alive” home, Bernadette Peters.

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