Life: the condition that distinguishes organisms from inorganic objects and dead organisms, being manifested by growth through metabolism, reproduction, and the power of adaptation to the environment through changes originating internally.
How funny is it that we rarely think of life like this? If you ask someone what life is to them, they will probably not give you an answer anywhere near that definition. So how should we define it?
Some of us would define it as pain, hurt, sorrow, and regret. While others might say it’s all about experiences, happiness, or freedom. Some might suggest a mixture of both. But notice these are all attached to something.
I sit here and ponder what “life” means to me. I think of my daughter. I think of my few friends or family members. I think about wanting to protect them because I love them. I think of those I have lost, both still alive and now dead. I think of lost loves and my regrets associated with them. Perhaps it’s more about the things I will never forget about them and loved them for. But I also think about my passing; who will remember me, and for what reasons? Who will love and miss me? And still… it all seems related.
But can’t it be even more basic than all this? When I visualize life, I think about just waking up in the morning and still having my eyes closed, reaching next to me and being able to grab the hand of someone who loves me, and loving them for having the bravery to still be there in the morning. I think of the pain associated with not having that hand in the morning when that person is no longer there, or worse, never was.
Even more simple is the thought of soft music and a sunset next to someone who cares to share it. Sitting on a hilltop and just enjoying the show that nature has provided. Nothing intimate, really; just longing for someone more interested in the world’s beauty as opposed to the blinds.
And what stirs my soul most is the thought of my daughters’ sweet kiss on my cheek, telling me how much she loves me and how I’m the best dad in the world for the simple things I do, like sharing ice cream with her. Or how she appreciates my efforts even when I can’t quite give her the moon. Or perhaps how instead of wanting to go shopping, or playing in the park, or playing with her friends, she’d rather sit on the couch and watch TV because it’s a chance to cuddle with her daddy.
So what’s the point? The point is that “Life” is a challenge for scientists and philosophers to define unequivocally. But whether we take a lifetime or even a solid minute to REALLY think about it… it becomes simple when we realize that life is not just about love but also about time. For me, the three could almost be interchangeable. One could say that Life is Love, and Love is Time.
Think about this: life is often measured by time. With love, there is never enough time. The more you love, the less time you seem to have. Without love, life can feel like an eternity, and a person will often spend that time pondering the point of living. And when we lose those we love, we often wish we simply had more time. And such is life.
It’s THE four-letter word—the double-edged sword. The beautiful dying rose with the thorny stem. The simple compounding complexity. So regardless of how you define it or which word you wish to use, here is a simple truth and something we should all think about…
Where you’re at with it depends solely on where you’re at without it.
At least for me… at least for now…