How rare and beautiful is it to exist?


For all the trips around the sun that I have made, I think that I have only just started to exist in this one. 

It’s hard to say what exactly defines existence as there are no concrete parameters by which to abide. 

Perhaps it is defined by the warmth of human touch: the ability to be felt by others and have them verify your existence. With it follows a reassuring squeeze of the hand, a reminder that both are real. 

Perhaps it is defined by the trail left behind, the footprints in the snow. In the realm of existence, these footprints don’t ever fade once they are made, no matter how many more feet of snow is yet to come. And as other people walk past, they know that someone had to exist to leave those marks. 

Perhaps it is defined by the ability to think deeply, the gift of human consciousness. Through the words that flow through our minds, maybe we are able to verify for ourselves the legitimacy of existence without relying on another as a crutch. 

Or maybe none of that has to do with existence at all. After all, I hold no jurisdiction on the legitimacy of human existence. 

But I can say one thing for sure: I exist.  

For over a decade, I couldn’t be sure if I existed at all. For over a decade, I was in doubt. 

Who was I except a messy amalgamation of all the lives that I had touched, all the lives that had touched me? Without other people’s spheres to come in to contact and mix with my own, would I be anything?

Who was I except tasks that I did in my day-to-day life and the roles that came along with each one? A student in class, a skater on the ice, a daughter at home, a friend in the backyard—is that all I was? 

Is there really anything else that matters?

Even if I could come to fully treasure each and every role, was that the extent of my existence? Did I exist to merely fill in the holes in other peoples’ lives while wholly ignoring the holes in my own?

After traveling millions of miles around the sun, I discovered with finality the answer to all the questions taunting me as I went through life. 

I exist, and the clarity with which I’ve come to perceive this fact is, to me, nothing short of astounding. 

How wonderful and free it is to be able to say such a fact without restraint, to know beyond a shadow of a doubt the legitimacy of myself?

People change me. They shape every malleable square inch of my soul, but change is unavoidable. Beneath and through the layers piled on by years and years of human interaction, I exist. 

I fill in the holes in other peoples’ lives; I fill in the roles that they expect me to occupy. I used to live every day afraid of the version of me living in other peoples’ minds, but as long as I exist for myself, what does it matter?

My existence has never been more precious and sacred to me, but it has also never been clearer. Although large and impossible to constrain, I know exactly where to reach to find it. 

I know that no matter what I do, I will still exist. Both everywhere and nowhere, I exist. 

Though my picture of the future is foggy and unstable, I know that I will exist through it all until the day I die. Obstacles stand in my way, and I will most definitely fall and hurt myself. But as long as I exist, I will be able to live. 

I exist, I exist, I exist. 

Is there really anything else that matters?