Heather Casey Sivills – Middlesex University 2012

Oscar Wilde definitely hit a nerve for me with his famous line; “To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.”

I first heard this notion at the tender age of 18 – fresh faced in university. Excited for all the world had to offer – but utterly fragile and broken.

After living through the grief of losing a friend so young – losing someone who made every second feel like cloud 9 – I became very ware of the urgency of living in the moment. To lose life is the cruellest thing in the world – and once you have experienced what pure joy is – the harder it is to live without it.

My sixteenth year of life was most definitely my favourite. A culmination of things paved way for the best experience of my life. The first time I had been able to act my age without the responsibility of housing issues and ill health. The first time I had felt truly comfortable in my skin. The first time I had met new and exciting people that were my kind of people. The first time I had dipped my toes into the realm of -actually- living life. Actually having fun. Actually finding myself.

To anyone that spent time with me – thank you for giving me the best memories ever.

When that period of time came to a crashing end – life felt very empty, very desolate. This in time, turned to a feeling of melancholy. And the rest is history.

I spent hours wondering about the purpose of life.

What were we aiming for? What were we supposed to be doing with out time? What was the best way to make the most of the life you had been given?

I became obsessed with the philosophy we would halfheartedly study at university. I became obsessed with reading other people’s perspectives on life. Obsessed with trying to find the perfect assimilation of words to not only add justification to the way I felt, but to give me the answers – to tell me the purpose of life. Tell me and I will do it.

How could I go from just existing to living? How could I check that I was alive? Was I definitely living? Did I have to be living all the time – or was ‘just existing’ allowed?

My brain filled itself with questions – and each curiosity led to a dozen more thoughts.

Ultimately – I came to the conclusion that ‘living’, meant viewing life as a party – and acting as if it was so. I was searching for the euphoria that I had found in my teens.

I became convinced that time spent alone did not count – I was living – in the sense that I was breathing and conscious – but it was never a valued part of my life. I looked down upon time spent alone, time spent being normal, being nothing.

I became consumed with the idea that I had to document my entire life. If it was not documented – did it even happen? Rather than being present in the moments that I had decided were the ultimate goals of life – I experienced them through my camera lens, my twitter update, my online presence.

I feared forgetting. I feared being forgotten.

I still live with the fear of wasting precious time – but I am no longer afraid of the idea of ‘existing’.

Sometimes – it is important to just exist. Existing is not negative. Existing is not living with a glass half empty.

Every moment of your life – is your life. No matter how big or small. How wild or quiet. How public or private.

Living is more than smiles and belly laughter. More than travelling the world and accomplishments. Living is also tears, loss, anger, fear and rejection. Living is experiencing all that life offers.

Spend your time doing whatever your heart desires. Fill your time with things that make your heart sing. Moments that allow you to settle within yourself and recharge. Events that cause for celebration and resting periods that allow you to experience your own self in its rawest form. Surround yourself with people that make you feel noticed. Immerse yourself in love that causes your soul to smile.

You do exist and you are alive.

Peace out.


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