Living or Existing?

“For some reason, I, all of a sudden, have this unexplained feeling of wanting to travel, live life to the fullest and enjoy life. I am restless…”

Sometimes, life gives us unexpected surprises. Surprises that at this particular point in our life, make us see how we’re living it. Or are we just existing?

This was not the first time and I’m pretty sure it won’t be the last photo where I was mesmerized by the scene behind me. Have you ever looked back and couldn’t help but to be in awe? Sometimes, it’s not always a bad thing to look back, specially if it’ll make you appreciate looking ahead even more…. 

For the past sixteen years, this is when I moved here from the Philippines, my life consisted of taking care of my family, keeping the house, making sure bills are being paid and everything else that a mother and a wife is expected to do. When I started working full time (ten years now), there was the additional duty of being at work and doing a physically demanding job, eight hours a day – five days a week. Of course, from time to time, we get to go on a vacation, eat out, watch a movie and do things as a family. To me, this is living my life. This is how I live it. Isn’t this how I’m supposed to live life?

Then come the unexpected surprises. It’s the day I realized my Mom’s memory is deteriorating right before my eyes. It’s those talks where the same questions were asked or the same exact stories were told. It’s those days where she thought Christmas is still a few days away whereas we’re already a few days into the New Year.

My mother live her life fully devoted to being a Mom and a wife. She never worked out of the house but worked hard in taking care of all of her five children and our Dad. Never went to parties, in short she preferred living a simple and isolated life. She’s happy and content. To her, this is life and this is how she should live it. That day and the days thereafter will be the days where I will cherish every talk that we have and every memories that she shares….

And the other surprise….it’s the day I learned that all these pains, fatigue and among other things that I am having are not all about aging. It’s the day I found out that I am .1% away from having full blown Sjogren’s Syndrome. It’s the day where every aches and pains reminds me that the next day could be worse or hopefully better. That day, I asked myself….am I living my life or merely existing?

“Life is unpredictable and short. We’ll never know when our ability to remember it, see it, feel it, enjoy it and explore it will be taken away. Don’t let life pass you by…” 

I can’t tell you the difference between living life or just existing. We are all different. We find fulfillment and purpose differently. What I can tell you though…..

Spend time with your parents as much as you can. Make memories with them. Share stories. And share some more. Take pictures every time you can. Love them, not just in words but more so in actions. Appreciate them. Hug them. Listen to them. Call them. Spend time with them. Include them in your life. Because to them, living their life is all about you….don’t make them feel like they just exist in yours….

And to mothers like me, it’s okay to not get things done. It’s okay to not worry too much. It’s okay not to overthink. It’s okay to go on a spontaneous trip. It’s okay to eat out even when the budget is tight. Take that nap. Buy those shoes. Get that haircut you’ve been dying to have since you were sixteen.

Because, sometimes….surprises don’t give us time to start over or to look back or to appreciate what we have now…

Sometimes, it just takes away….

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