Posted by: keepfishing | September 7, 2008

Asleep or Alive?

“To me it’s so simple that life should be lived on the edge of life. You have to exercise in rebellion, to refuse to taper yourself to rules, to refuse your own success, to refuse to repeat yourself, to see every day, every year, every idea as a true challenge and then you are going to live your life on a tight rope.”  -Philippe Petit

Earlier this week I watched Man On Wire, an excellent documentary about a French performer who ran a wire between the towers of the World Trade Centre and walked between the two in 1974. It’s one of the more inspiring films I’ve seen, encouraging people to take life by the balls and really live. 

It sparks a couple of interesting questions though. What really makes us feel alive? Obviously answers are going to be pretty personal, but it strikes me that people go through life so fast that we never stop and ask themselves this question. In my old job I met countless students who were at university studying generic degrees as a default life path, aimlessly ‘studying’ english, history, geography, only to graduate and find work in middle management for a multinational bank or insurance company or something equally dull.

This isn’t to say that these folk aren’t simply working to fund a driving passion, but sadly in most cases, I doubt it.

I’m not saying there aren’t people impassioned by these subjects – I have a great friend who is enraptured by English Lit – but, i fear that multitudes are living a life they never dreamed.

What do we dream? If we slowed down enough to ask, what would we find actually drives us?

What makes you really feel alive?


  1. i’ve just started a book that’s about “finding the dream that fits your life” – it’s really interesting to look at why dreaming & pursuing our dreams is so important. not only as humans, but as people who love Jesus

  2. Al, having given up a well paid job in advertising to become an impoverished coastal manager (or whatever…) this is a subject close to my heart. I met up with the ex last month, and he has gone the other way. A once happy, passionate conservationist has become a miserable cog in the wheel… I hardly recognised him. Why do so many people spend so many years in jobs they hate…?

    As to your question… what makes me feel alive?
    Sitting at 40m in perfect viz, watching my bubbles hit the surface… galloping a horse in beautiful countryside…climbing to the top of a big hill…. nature in all its glory… a good night out with friends.

    Thank you for your thought provoking questions… and hope all is well post-Newcastle 🙂


  3. I feel alive when i’m with people i care about, and i know they care about me. when i’m with people i know genuinely care about me rather than who just put up with me. I feel alive when i know i’ve related to other people well: had a positive impact on their life, acted with kindness and integrity.

    I feel alive when i’ve resisted the desire to fall into destructive ways of living and chosen to submit to wisdom that shows me the right choices – ones that set me free.

    None of this is easy. I’m not always good at relating to people, i’m often selfish or just unthinking. I have next to no willpower, and a great deal of confusion as to what is wise.

    I like my work and i like lots of things in my life. But none of them are ultimately who i am. They’re not my identity and they’re not what will ultimately fulfill me. If i get famous or, even more unlikely, married, these things would be in many ways exciting and lovely and yada yada, but they wouldn’t solve my problems nor magically flick a switch that will make me a perfect and perfectly satisfied individual. Dreams are good and passions are good… but feeling free? being alive? liking yourself as a person? This is about making positive choices when its hard to, and caring more about other people than you do about yourself, and being honest about your struggles, and loving imperfect people and allowing them to love you. and stuff. yeah. Anyway that’s what i think. erm… thanks for listenin an’ all…

  4. Tough question. For me, I would have to say I feel most alive in those moments when you have a clear choice between doing something safe (ie bottleing it) or doing something that pushes the limits of what you know-from experience-you can get away with! This applies whether in the context of pro evo, driving, writing, relationships…

  5. Living life on purpose is not just a tagline on a blog for me.. it is a necessity to life and feeling alive… in no particular order:
    dancing free as a bird, singing my little heart out, walking at the edge of where the land hits the ocean and feeling the sand in my toes, discipling women to grow in their faith, having a REAL conversation with someone and connecting on a heart level about something real and honest(and not some drivel chit chat where we are both miles away and distracted and are just talking about nothing to fill up space), being hugged in a bear hug by a good friend, introducing people to a relationship with Jesus, praying for the 1040, living life so others can know the Saviour

    I am living what makes me feel alive

  6. I think I feel most alive when I’m singing my heart out to God. Maybe that’s a bit cheesy and corny but it’s undeniably true for me.

    No matter how I’m feeling emotionally or physically when I sing out to God it just gets lifted from me somehow. Not really very easy to explain.

    I also feel alive when cartwheeling down beaches with my friends. Again not sure why. Think it just is fun and childish.

  7. Thanks for the time spent commenting guys.

    I wish I could cartwheel

  8. I can’t cartwheel. I think that’s what makes it more fun. It’s hilariously entertaining…and shocking if I land on my feet (a rare landing style)

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