Life-Lust: On Living Intensely and Using Life Experiences as Stepping Stones

By Robyn Phillips / 06.13.2017

A lifelong love of intensity

I think I’ve always loved intensity. I’ve always searched for people, places and things that warrant a release of adrenaline. It’s why I get bored so easily. When the adrenaline wears off, my mind starts to look for it elsewhere. It makes all that’s current feel pedestrian. It just doesn’t chalk up to the feeling I crave—a feeling of being challenged, free and unrestricted.

I love not knowing what’s next. Predictability kills my creativity and without my inherent imagination, I feel incomplete and superficial. I feel removed from myself and seek to regain that self-knowledge by putting myself in the way of intensity.

My need to live animatedly isn’t about seeing new places, hearing new sounds, doing new things or meeting new people. It’s rather about finding intensity.

Places, sounds, things and people are merely convenient by-products of the essentiality of what I’ve come to call “life-lust.” My inability to settle is about knowing that I won’t find authentic happiness there. I won’t be content thinking, “only one day.”

Knowing this, I also question if I’ll ever be fully and completely happy continuing on the way I am, because the life I know is one way and intensity another. The life I know is a path the majority of us have come to walk, a path that only few have managed to venture from.

Intensity as people, places, sounds and actions

If intensity takes on the form of people, it’s those people I want to meet. I want to shake hands with those who sneak off into the bush while the pilgrimage of “ordinaries” carries on, those who stealthily slip into the darkness and tiptoe up the mountain so they can howl at the moon.

If intensity takes on the form of places, it’s the extremes I want to visit. I want to experience the Arctic air, the tallest peaks, the sway of the ocean and the vivacious rainforests that are always alive. I want to go to the places that aren’t easy to get to. I want to go to the places that make me ask, “Why?”

If intensity takes on the form of sounds, it’s the ones that can’t be mistaken for anything else that I want to hear. Crashing waves, whispering trees, swirling wind and animals answering each other’s calls—the sounds that I can hear even when I’m not there.

If intensity takes on the form of things I do, I want those things to wake me up. I want to say “yes” to heights—to feel paralyzing fear when I look down from halfway up, but keep climbing because that fear is my therapy. I want to swim across the lake, not knowing if I possess endurance, but knowing I’ll touch the opposing shore because I know how to be still and float.

I love a plot that’s fragmented, broken, twisted and seemingly incomplete. I love a story that doesn’t always make sense, but just is.

There’s little intensity in comfort

I sit here with my tea, cozied up in a blanket, listening to the rain make the tin roof sing, and I know I should be comfortable. I possess the means of traditional comfort.

But there’s little intensity in comfort.

And I think that’s my problem. It’s always been my problem. I try to combat the need for intensity with comfort. It’s not a philosophical question—it’s math. How do I battle this appetite for intensity? The answer, comfort, will always be wrong.

Me + happiness doesn’t = comfort.

I think I crave intensity. I need to be challenged and unrestricted in my attempts to meet those challenges. I need life to be unpredictable. I find authentic happiness here.

I sit here in comfort, with my tea and blanket, and I write. I write because my words are where I can find intensity in the here and now.

Stepping Stones

And before it’s started
it’s over.

I must accept
that this wandering is ill-fated …
a meaningless voyage of the heart
coerced by the hearts of others.

All I wanted
was to quiet the uncertainty,
to shush the cry of “what-ifs.”

But, like a lightbulb
rolling under a moving car tire

in all directions
never destined to become tangibly held

Who would I speak to anyway?

likely uncaring

just hopeful.

nonsensical hope
is all there is
to draw upon.

I let go
what I thought was a missile
but is rather a newborn lamb

a life of potential
destined for the slaughterhouse
before it has a name

the intention of impact
cut short by the reality of
my ambition

I realize
it’s not needed …

there …
but not needed.
its necessity rationalized by my desire to tell

Perhaps this is it.

These words are what is left.

All there is.

A final failed attempt
to express
what I once felt needed to be told
but is a wasted message.

some pain
some relief

it leaves simplicity
in that
I am done

but …

it feels full of mystery
I do not know where to go from here.

now feeling awry.

I look to this …

these words
as stepping stones to
the other side of a bubbling creek
whose shore I cannot see

but I know it exists.