Warning: very serious post.

I have a hard time dealing with death. Regardless if it’s a death of a loved one, a friend’s relative or a workmate’s family member. Like who isn’t anxious to talk about dying? It’s a frightening topic; a huge reminder that life on earth is really short, and that we take too many things for granted.

Having encountered a near-death experience myself—a serious allergic reaction that would have caused my life had I not been alert enough to monitor my heart rate and drive to the nearest hospital—, I know what it’s like to see your life flash before your own eyes and ask yourself, “Have I been living all this time?” Like, really living?

As Oprah puts it, “All death is to remind us of our own lives and how we’re living it.”

From then on, I made it my mission to truly live, and do the very things that make me feel scared, happy and alive. And I did just that recently when I visited the extraordinary city of Dubai. I may have missed going skydiving, but I did get to do a bunch of incredible things that gave me real joy: immersing myself in so much art and culture, indoor skiing, visiting mosques, even quad biking and dune bashing in the desert safari (I’ll be talking all about our #CavemanTravelsDubai trip on my next post). Traveling really does wonders for the soul and spirit; and I acknowledge the fact that I’m very blessed to be able to do that. But how about those who don’t get to travel? Or are not into traveling? How are they living, you ask?

Well, there’s more to living than just packing your bags and seeing the world. Stick around and read through for you to find out:

Being true to yourself

This is something that you can do literally anywhere, even just by yourself. You don’t need to be around other people or in some place fancy and Instagram-worthy. If you wake up in the morning or sleep at night knowing that you’re being your absolute, authentic self, then bravo. You’re halfway through the battle. If you’re not, then you’re just living with a dead soul and it’s time to make changes and work towards living your truth.

Creating something

I know I’m living when I’m creating. As an artist/writer/entrepreneur, I always have this urge to create—it’s in my blood—even down to a simple photograph of a sunset, or a group of words pieced together expressing my thoughts. Because who knows, it could help somebody who’s going through a tough day feel a little bit better. Nothing felt more fulfilling than when a friend or a stranger told me that my words had helped them with their healing.

“I’m not an artist or a writer,” you say. Well, creating is not just about producing something tangible. We have very limited time on this planet, for goodness’ sake, if you don’t feel the need to create even the slightest connection with that officemate from another department that you don’t really work with or that dude in class who seems less cool or smart than your friends, then what are you doing with your life? Which brings me to my next point…

Establishing connections

They say when you travel, it’s not about the destination but who you travel with and meet along the way. You could be traveling to New Delhi or Bangkok and experiencing their rich cultures, but if you wouldn’t make an effort getting to know their beautiful locals (shoutout to all the friends I’ve made in my travels), then dude, what’s the point?

Same with life in general. If you’re gonna walk the earth alone and not build meaningful relationships as you go along, what are you really here for?

Helping others

Let’s say you have acquired an abundance of friendships all these years. Proud of you, my friend. Now time to ask this question: are you making a difference in their lives? Are you actually there to hold their hand in time of need? Sometimes a person just needs to know you’re there—not even physically, but in spirit—and that already makes a big difference. Giving truly is more fulfilling than receiving, and if giving is part of your daily actions, imagine how rich and fulfilled you’ll feel at the end of each day—that’s what living a life well-lived is like in my book.

Making lasting memories

We all came to the world with nothing, and we’re also going to leave without anything. None of these shiny, material things can be brought with us as we depart this place, but isn’t it comforting to know that our memories could possibly remain with us, even in the afterlife? Yes, nobody knows for sure, but I know I’ll be taking that chance and spending the rest of my life making the best memories with the people that I love.

Leaving you with these words from The Curious Case of Benjamin Button:

“For what it’s worth: it’s never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start all over again.”

Happy living. x

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