Define: Being Human

Words by: Sarah Wilkes
Art by: Brooke Stevens

As I began writing this piece, I found myself instinctively addressing an unborn earthling. A twinkle in a mother’s eye, a tiny heartbeat, a bun in the oven. We all wish there was some manual, instruction booklet or dictionary warning us of the T&Cs that come with humanity. So, it seems fitting to dedicate this to you, Little One, whoever you are. Here’s what it means to be human: 

Soulmate 

Someone you were destined to meet. This type of star-crossed interaction may be romantic, platonic, or even professional. After encountering this being, the trajectory of your life may do a 180-degree flip, or perhaps merely veer a little to the side. The universe serves them up to you when you least expect it. They come and go — some will be immortal in your life while others might sting and die off like a bee. Yet, their time with you was well-spent, shaping you into the wonderful, complex, and imperfect human that you are. 

Time 

It goes for eternity, but there’s never quite enough of it. You’ll learn about clocks, time zones and the way the world spins. You’ll even learn how to manage your time, so that you can thrive in a society that obsesses over deadlines, appointments, and dates. But to be frank, you will always be acutely baffled by this phenomenon. (And same, Little One.) 

Embarrassment 

You’ll learn this one all too quickly. In a moment of embarrassment, you’ll feel a spotlight from the heavens focus on YOU as if everyone is watching only YOU. Your stomach may twist and turn, your body may want to fold in on itself and you’ll wish life came with a big red ESCAPE button. But don’t fret — it will be okay, Little One. You will mispronounce words. You will be walked in on while having sex. You will fall over in public. That’s life, and you’ll find the humour in it.

Love 

It’s the closest you’ll get to magic — indescribable, often doesn’t make sense and can completely intoxicate you. It comes in varied forms. Nothing will compare to your first feeling of it for the woman who is so graciously carrying you in her womb. One day, you’ll suppose you’ve felt it for a member of a boy band. But just wait, Little One — a human will one day enter your life when you least expect it, and open a door to a part of yourself you never knew existed. 

Success 

This one is tricky. You’ll learn your own version of it that’ll ebb and flow with your life. Prepare yourself — your definition of success will be challenged in job interviews or over drunken nights with your besties. For today’s sake, it’s a term that measures your accomplishments and, sometimes, the world will seem to only focus on your lack of them. One day, success will be getting your dream job. Another day, it will be getting out of bed.

Euphoria 

In these moments, you’ll feel most alive. They won’t necessarily be void of pain, anxiety, and uncertainty, but in these rare moments you won’t be resistant to the human experience anymore — you’ll be immersed in it. The moment may come at a music festival, on a run, singing karaoke or laughing over a glass of red. You must remember that these moments are earned, and they will be a product of your active decisions. Please be cautious — at times, you may be convinced that these moments can be induced by drugs, sex, or someone else. Soon you’ll learn that the only sustainable generator of happiness is you. It’s all you

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