Are we really living?

What does life actually mean to people? What do we do with it? Who are we doing this life with?

Sunday mornings for my seven-year-old dog Zoey and I have turned into a ritual. Every Sunday, without fail, she is aware that I’m home from work and knows that Sundays are for long walks. Usually just the two of us. She’s antsy with anticipation nearly from the time I come downstairs, pacing and whining from the couch to the front door and back until I finally say the magic words, “do you wanna go for a walk?”, which sends her into a frenzy.

I often pop in my AirPods and listen to the latest available episodes on my podcast list, ranging from sports-related to politics and truly anything in-between. I’ll still drop in on my favorite JFK conspiracy podcasts from time to time too. Or, I may listen to an audible book I’ve borrowed from the library (currently listening to The Sum of Us by Heather McGee - I recommend).

I try to be a pretty well-rounded person.

Sometimes I leave my AirPods at home and get lost in my own thoughts while dragging my dog, who’d rather stop and sniff at every tree or pole, through the neighborhood. I’ll admit, it can get a bit scary living in my own head as much as I do.

This past Sunday morning, as Zoey walked through our neighborhood soaking in the crisp, fall air, I began thinking about the concept of life.

As in, what does it actually mean to people? What do we do with it? Who are we doing this life with?

How “pro-life” are we being? In the true sense of the term. Not just when it pertains to babies.

Are we making this world a better place for each other? Do we care enough about those living around us?

Community is a hot word these days. We can’t do this life alone. We definitely care about the group of people we are doing life with. But do we care about those living outside of our circles? What about our Trump-supporting friends? Our Never-Trumpers?

They are all people, all humans trying to figure out this world.

Get this, if someone disagrees with you about politics or vaccines or is a Buckeye fan, you can still love them. Crazy, I know. In 2021, it’s something that needs to be stated more often.

Can we profess to care about life if we support capital punishment? Isn’t it the opposite of being an advocate for life?

What about public education? How much are we supporting the living if we are okay with defunding public schools? I’ll hear this argument sometimes: “Why should my tax dollars go to public schools if my kids go to private schools?”. Okay, that’s a fair question to ask. I mean, if you take out the concept of actual children getting a good education, sure.

50 million kids are in public schools this fall. Are we “pro-life” if we also don’t care what type of education these kids receive? Do we care what type of life these kids go home to after school?

In our day to day lives, how much time do we spend on social media? The average person spends 145 minutes per day on social media. On average, Americans spent more than 1,300 hours on social media in 2020. That’s 54 days spent strictly on social media platforms. Each American. Having a platform on social media isn’t bad, but what do we gain by spending 54 days a year staring at our screens soaking up carefully curated lives? Are we really living?

This post wasn’t designed to shame or embarrass anyone. It’s really a reminder, especially for myself, to not live with our heads buried securely in the sand. Life is messy. We mess up, we make up and we are all just trying to do what we can do to survive the daily grind we put ourselves through.

Life is just better when we aren’t doing it alone. It’s better when we aren’t focused solely on ourselves.

How much are we really living?

-JG