Are You Living, or Just Alive?

I have discovered over the last year or so that finding time to write while grieving is more challenging than I anticipated. I have so many things I need to catch up on, but somehow, writing always gets pushed to the back burner.


I am inching ever-so-close to the BIG 4-0. It's kind of scary, yet kind of exhilarating, all at the same time. To think that I am potentially half-way through my life is surreal. Yet, only the Creator knows for sure how long we have in this life, which makes me stop in my tracks sometimes.

Am I living my life to the fullest? Like, really LIVING it? Will I look back on my days with happiness, or regret? Am I living, or just alive?

My mom's unfortunate diagnosis and eventual death has made me start doing things a little differently. I travel more (a LOT more than I did growing up, and even in my 20s). I read more. I place more value on experiences rather than "things." I surprise people with random acts of kindness. I emphasize health (most of the time). I quit my job in the corporate world so I wouldn't miss my girls growing up, and so I could spend more time with my mom while she was still here.

I, more often than not, seek JOY, even on the hard days. I try to practice eucharisteo.

But am I living?

Sometimes, it's difficult to tell when I'm still in a grief fog.

From "The Broken Way" by Ann Voskamp

Oh, Ann. You are so wise. So, what does that look like, figuring out how to live in the face of unspoken pain?

I imagine it looking something like this, minus the extremely lived-in kitchen:

Bucket lists!! As you can see, mine is empty right now. But, I plan to fill it up soon with all sorts of shenanigans.

Because, shenanigans.

And I will fill it up until I'm 40 (OK, I will probably keep filling it up long after that). And when I'm 40, I plan to start crossing things off that list (OK, I probably won't wait until then to get started). Seriously, why wait?

Life is meant to be LIVED! We only get one, and I'm pretty sure God doesn't want us just going through the motions until our time is up. I know my mom wouldn't want me to live out the rest of my days pining to be with her again.

But there will still be those days, they just won't dictate my life.

So, what should I fill my bucket list with? Do any of you have a bucket list? If so, what kinds of things are inspiring you to live? I think it would be so fun to brainstorm bucket lists together. I will start:

  • Costa Rica
  • Fenway Park
  • Broadway musical
  • Swimming with dolphins
  • The "Wailing Wall"
  • African safari
  • White-water rafting down the Colorado River
  • Sing at Carnegie Hall

I am finally in a place on my grief journey that I feel like living again; that I don't feel guilty (OK, maybe still a little) that I am living and my mom is not. I decided that I can no longer wake up every day and already wish it to be over.

I decided to replace my fake smiles with real ones; to get busy living rather than get busy dying.

And somewhere, my mom is shouting, "It's about damn time!"

Won't you join me?


"So I commend the enjoyment of life, because there is nothing better for a person under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad. Then joy will accompany them in their toil all the days of the life God has given them under the sun."  ~Ecclesiastes 8:15


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