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The Difference Between Surviving and Living

·399 words·2 mins
Self Improvement

The first time I wrote this post, I did so in a dream. And in that dream, one of my friends from Cleveland was there. She wasn’t one of my closest friends — although we have a ton of respect for one another. I think she’s amazing, you see. One of those people who are out trying to save the world. Where me? I’m a curiosity. I’m the friend that people go to talk through issues. An entertainer at times, a teacher — and when I really nail it, a helper.

But I’m not one of those amazing activist types who are saving the world, even if it means getting arrested.

This friend is like that. Allegedly, she admires me in turn, although I can’t imagine why.

Still, we do find that whenever we talk that we tend to view things in a similar way. That’s always refreshing, isn’t it?

Anyway, this friend was there in my dream when I wrote this post. And she loved it. She raved about how important it was, how it was going to make all the difference.

My first instinct was to argue with her. To tell her that what I do doesn’t matter, that she’s doing the real-world saving work. And she said to me, her face the picture of seriousness, “No, I didn’t mean saving the world, Page. I meant saving yourself.”

“Oh, that?” I said. “Well, that doesn’t count. I thought you said I was going to make a difference.”

And she shook her head and laughed at me. “I know you’re committed to doubting yourself, but it doesn’t make you right,” she scolded me. “Saving yourself is how you’re make a difference. It’s the first step. You need to figure out the difference between surviving and living, Page. You need to let yourself actually live. And then you’ll be unstoppable.”

When I woke up, I felt an emptiness. She hadn’t told me how to do that. How to move from survival — something I’ve gotten pretty good at over the years — to living.

“Well,” I told myself, “maybe you could start with writing the post from the dream and leave it out like a promissory note for later, to tell your future self that even if you don’t know how to get there now that you’ll make a concerted effort to figure it out and to do it.”


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