Well hello friends!
I am finally back after a solid 3 month hiatus from this blog and I can tell you that it feels good to be back! I really didn’t have much to say after my Buckeyes layed a large goose egg on New Years eve, but here I am now with what I hope is some wisdom for my loyal readers(you guys are loyal….right?)
My last blog post(#Shamelessplugs2017) referenced a bible verse that I absolutely love and this post will lead off with that same verse. The verse is from the book of John and says:
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10
I have been thinking a lot recently about what it really means to have life and have it to the full. To be honest this is not an original thought. I began thinking more about this after a good friend lent me a book that adventured into what living really meant. The book is called “When Breath Becomes Air” by Paul Kalanithi. Paul was a Neurosurgeon and he spent his life trying to figure out the question “What makes a life worth living?”
I won’t give away the entire book because I think that everyone should read it. Once you do, you will want to purchase your own copy and re-read it many times over. But one of the biggest questions that Paul asks is if life is the accumulation of experiences or is life the accumulation of knowledge? Is it both?
I wanted to write about those question with my own perspective because as soon as Paul asked that question in the book, I started to think. I started to think that I might be able to answer those questions, but what I realized is that I will probably spend my entire life trying to answer those questions, and maybe that’s the point.
Experiences allow us to see the world that we have been gifted in all its glory. The world that we live in and almost everything that occurs in it is amazing. Seeing things in person that make you feel so small in such a huge world, makes you almost feel bigger than ever. As Nick Miller once said “I need real life adventure!” Yep… I just quoted the show New Girl…in a blog post about life. But if you know me at all, it makes sense that I did because he does bring up a good point. He wants to go on real life experiences so that he can write like Hemingway…so naturally him and Winston go to the zoo. Trust me, I am not saying that I am trying to be like Hemingway either…but that’s besides the point!
Now the opposite of Nick Miller is to have the knowledge of the world around us. Seriously, he didn’t even know that there are more than one type of Turtle! Nick Miller needs to watch some Planet Earth am I right?
Does knowing so much about the world allow us to live life to the full? You can learn and gain knowledge by reading books and studying, and learning all you can. That might help you out at trivia, so if you do that please come to trivia with us. But as much as you can read about different things, I believe that where you really truly learn about them is to experience them.
“True knowledge is gained by experiencing the life we have been gifted”
I have seen it both ways. I have done my reading, I have learned through studies, and I have taken and (barely) passed tests. I have also been fortunate enough to have traveled quite a bit in my life so far. I have seen the Grand Canyon, I have zip-lined through the jungles of Costa Rica. I have been on the coasts of the United States and seen the beauty of both…with an Oldfield’s shirt on either end of the U.S.
To my point that experiencing the things in life gives true knowledge, I will give an example from my own life. I am fortunate enough to be working at The Ohio State Wexner Medical Center and I recently got to learn about a DBS surgery. DBS stands for Deep Brain Stimulation and I thought I knew what the surgery did by reading and watching a couple videos. Boy, was I wrong. I never truly learned until I experienced the DBS surgery in person. I was able to witness the DBS surgery in the OR and see a person’s life change before my very eyes. Talk about a new perspective.
But now that I have explored my thoughts on one of the questions that Paul asked, I started thinking a lot about other things that made life worth living. I think that living life to the full means experiencing it with someone else. Whether that is a significant other, a best friend, or a family member. I am not just talking about the good times, but the bad as well. That time you did that dumb thing, that time you watched your favorite team get their rear ends handed to them(cough, cough…Fiesta Bowl.) Those are all made much better while experiencing them with great friends…even if you are the one doing that dumb thing, you’ll have your friends there to keep you humble and in my case keep me laughing.
Now sharing in misery is one thing but sharing in joyful moments is another. One of the coolest moments in my life was standing on the West Coast looking out on Haystack Rock with my Mom, Aunt, and Uncle standing there right next to me. Sharing in that experience makes it that much more special. That moment will be slightly different in each of our memories but Paul has a great quote in his book about this as well.
“Human knowledge is never contained in one person. It grows from the relationships we create between each other and the world, and still is never complete”
Does living life to the full mean sharing this knowledge and experience and passing it on? I just met my “nephew” a couple weeks ago and it was an amazing moment. No, the cute baby in the above slideshow is not mine, that is Baby Cooper and words cannot describe how cute he is! After meeting him, it made me want to go out and learn as much as I can from experiencing life so that I can share what I have learned and seen with him. I want to be that cool uncle (me, cool, that’ll be the day) that has experienced life and knows what it means to truly be alive.
I also think that really truly being alive and living life to the full requires love. Old Dominion has a new song out titled “No Such Thing as a Broken Heart” and the chorus states that we should “Love like there is no such thing as broken heart.” If you know me, you might say that it is easy for me to say because I wear my heart on my sleeve. I go all out in just about everything I do, sometimes to my own detriment. I am usually to one extreme or the other, but you know what? To me that is being alive. I just don’t think we have enough time on this Earth to not care. As Dave Matthews Band so eloquently puts it: “Celebrate we will for life is short but sweet for certain.”
The meaning of life is such a huge question and I don’t think a blog post that references Nick Miller, Old Dominion, and the Fiesta Bowl will answer that question. But maybe it can get you to start thinking.