I'm sure you're thinking a more intriguing title should have been 'The Year of Adventure!' And of course I wish that was something I could promise or had plans for but at this moment there really isn't much on the calendar when it comes to adventures of grandeur. This being said, it's pretty much inevitable that I'll go on some sort of trip to somewhere new and exciting. Since I first started traveling in highschool my life has been filled with relatively regular excursions. I feel beyond privileged to have already been exposed to such a vast variety of cultures, and bucket list worthy experiences. From traveling overseas for 9 months, bungee jumping, a multitude of hikes in gorgeous locations, camping in the Tibetan Autonomous region, white water rafting, snowboarding in the Caucasus, and many more thrills have all provided me with a unique perspective on what it means to live. Some people have an unquenchable thirst for adrenaline, others yearn for more knowledge, and then there are those who crave irreplaceable relationships. There's so much value in each pursuit and people go their entire lives seeking fulfillment through various means but what does it mean to live a well lived life? I'm not only referring to a morally good, or an exciting, or productive life but merely a life that was spent well and responsibly. This lone, deeply perplexing question is one that I think has been on my mind for a long time and only recently have I been pondering it in such a stripped down form.
(side note, I figured this post can be a little longer because I took a long break from writing and have a lot of thoughts building up. Now lets hope I make sense)
Most people would think that this question could be answered in a variety of ways depending on ones geographical region, religious experience, financial situation, race, gender, etc., but if we are all human should there not be an objective answer for what it would look like to live well during our finite time on Earth? This is where I feel some internal conflict because I want to say there is, objectively, a correct way to progress through life that transcends our personal experiences. Although from what I've observed in so many unique cultures and what society is pushing towards, I don't know if I can stand firm on such a claim without inescapable pushback. It's easy to look at certain actions and concur that it was a good choice. For example, being environmentally responsible, doing helpful things for others, opposing injustice, or even just positively contributing to your community. But I'm unsure if it's possible to rate or scale life achievements in a way that would show what living well could optimally appear as. If there's a farmer in rural China who has an intimate understanding of their crops, the land, their community, and contributes unsparingly to others in need, in what way would we compare that to someone living in a North American city who buys ethically or locally made goods, feeds the poor, helps the elderly, and volunteers inexhaustibly?
Even for myself I've worked through various aspirations, all the way from wanting to be a professional soccer player, to a high level commercial photographer in marketing, to now possibly a farmer or something environmentally related. Each time I'm going down one of these paths I have to ask how can I use that career or choice to positively impact the world around me. I know that sounds like a stereotypical millennial sentiment but I genuinely think that's one of the greatest convictions our generation has to offer the planet. It poses the question of how can we make choices that result in living well so that others can also live well? It forces us to make conscious decisions that intentionally influence our communities directly or even indirectly. Now going back to the question of what does it mean to live a well lived life: wouldn't the logical conclusion be to live in a way that is moving towards restoring Shalom on Earth?
Thanks so much for checking out the first post of 2018 (especially the McLean's haha). I've included photos from my favourite adventure last year where Celine and I road tripped to Kamloops and our truck broke down literally the furthest spot from home. Lastly, if you have any comments or thoughts I'd love to hear them!