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Students in a long tail boat in Indonesia. Photo by Aaron Slosberg, Indonesia Semester.

Full Life

I have been thinking a lot today about living a full life. I wonder if what I’m doing is making my life more full of life. I love quotes and words from aged travelers of the feeling of being alive in the middle of energetic, chaotic bazaars, and writers who tell of the “life” they feel just being in nature.

How do I know if I’m living a full life? From where I’m standing right now, I can see it in the brown imprints in the soles of my socks hanging in the shower, in the permanent inking of my fingernails with the midnight peel of mangostines. Is discomfort essential for a full life? If so, I could guide you to the red bumps on my chest and back that have appeared from sweat trapped to my body during a four-hour archery tournament in 100+ degree weather with 97% humidity.

I can look down at my pruned toes from dashing through rain storms today, though we weren’t dashing to get out of the rain; we were walking aimlessly but with the urgency and vivaciousness of those scrambling for cover. I hadn’t been able to stop laughing. It was there, on a honking, blaring, chaotic street in Yogya, running through ankle deep puddles and throwing my hands in the air that I thought about how silly my instinct to get out of the rain is.

Today, life felt full.

Here are some excerpts from my journal from what earlier in the course, that felt like fully living:

  • Feb 15, Yogyakarta: Best day ever 🙂 singing tonight under the swaying tree limbs under the stars with a warm evening breeze that comes in to sink the shoulders of the day’s heat, with my lovely and fun group and the Indonesian band, was truly breathtaking. One of those “wow, I’m here” heart moments. Time completely slowed down. Each song felt like at least twenty minutes. I was singing loudly, dancing, and swaying. I am just so happy.”
  • Feb 16: I am so happy. Truly every fibre of me feels charged with electricity, a feeling that has nuzzled in and made a home in my heart. Everything feels fun, everything seems okay, everything feels light and beautiful. The colors and chaos on streets are energizing in their frenzy. I truly could cry of joy. I’m sitting here on a couch at an internet cafe feeling on top of the world. This is living”
  • Feb 17: Today I felt alive. I feel like I’m just on the right path. I have really connected with my group and I truly love what each of them brings to the table. I have felt welcome and filled with joy upon using jumbled Indonesian and hand gestures”

What a magical, rare, and wild thing it is to feel alive.