Walking home, in the midst of a receding thunderstorm and gloomy skies, I have never felt more alive.

Physics B was Monday, one of the many tests this year. Seattle weather just perfectly complimented it, with booming thunder reminding us of physics mighty power upon the world. Walking out of the three hour examination room was quite a joy, with the world still wet from the unexpected thunderstorm.

With the buzz of nervous students surrounding me, the world felt like a living place. Hearing their excited, and not so excited, conversations about the test we just had, while just quietly observing the reactions of those around me. Those who were pumped and excited, oddly rejuvenated with the release of a mass of stress, and those who were already in calm resignation of their fates.

After a couple minutes standing around NOT talking about the test/questions, I needed to start walking home, to see and calm my mom and grandparents.

The brisk walk home gave way to an overload of thoughts and emotions, about the test, about nature, about the unavoidable future, about the lost past. That short time out of the world made me consider what it meant to be living.

Life wasn’t just about fun or games; it isn’t just those high points in your life, surrounded by friends, or if that’s not your cup of tea, surrounded by book stacks and a warm crackling fireplace and a nice warm cup of soothing green tea (my gosh that sounds so good right now). Living on this world is not merely indulging in hedonistic activities, or celebrating those hard-earned vacations.

Nor is it solely those ruts that we frequently find ourselves stuck in. It isn’t solely those challenging parts where hope seems lost and the world seems to close in upon all that we do.

We live to achieve something more, somewhere in between where we are and where we want. Life is bittersweet, with uncertainty and confusion lurking at each corner. There are unexpected surprises, good and bad, everywhere you look, but there are also people that you can turn to in any circumstance.

To me, life is lived in the fullest when you can see the hardships of the future, and yet be unafraid. To see the world as it is, or to understand that we don’t live in a perfect world, there will be injustice, there will be problems, but to also understand that there are those who will do all that is in their power to change that.

When we see our experiences in the past, and we realize both the mistakes and the joys that we have had. When we realize those heartaches and those inevitable regrets that come upon us, but realize that eventually it would get better; that we shall overcome. When we realize those struggles that we have had, and realize the eventual rewards or at least new experiences that have resulted, that is when we are most alive.

Living isn’t just about being happy for yourself, it’s about celebrating others and the constant of change. Looking around through nature, and realizing that we are all a very insignificant part of that, but nonetheless, we are a part of that somehow. The cycle of life; the inevitability of death; the joy of little moments and the sadness of loss. All of this is reflected in how we act and perceive, the world around us.

And I intend to live it to its fullest.

[Unrelated, but physicist are thinking that Cosmic Radiation is the cause of lightning. Awesome!]

2 thoughts on “Alive

  1. There’s this poem.

    흔들리지 않고 피는꽃이 어디 있으랴?
    이 세상 그 어떤 아름다운 꽃들도
    다 흔들리면서 피었나니
    흔들리면서 줄기를 곧게 세웠나니
    흔들리지 않고 가는 사랑이 어디 있으랴?

    젖지않고 피는 꽃이 어디 있으랴?
    이 세상 그 어떤 빛나는 꽃들도
    다 젖으며 피었나니
    바람과 비에 젖으며 꽃잎 따뜻하게 피웠나니
    젖지 않고 가는 삶이 어디 있으랴?
    흔들리지 않고 가는 삶이 어디 있으랴?

    It translates roughly to

    “Where is the flower that blooms without shaking?
    Any of the beautiful flowers of this world
    all bloom while being shaken
    They shake on stems that grow upright
    Where is the love that goes without shaking?
    Where is the flower that blooms without being soaked?
    Any of the shining flowers of this world
    bloom as they are soaked
    Soaked by wind and rain, petals bloom warmly
    Where is the life that goes without being soaked?”

    which I find really fitting, because what is life without hardship? How can we become better people, more beautiful and stronger individuals if we do not encounter obstacles and hardships in life, shaken like flowers?

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