Life Person

My friend Cayte introduced me to the German word Lebemensch.

A person blessed with a voracious hunger for life. Literal translation: Life Person.

I never did think, back when I was a kid, that when Grown Ups asked what I'd like to be when I was older the truest answer would be "a Life Person."

Life Person is, quite simply, one who is Alive. Alive with a capital 'A' because if you're reading this maybe you, like me, have thought about the difference between living and Living. The former relates to breathing lungs and beating hearts – the latter, to embracing the day-to-day realities with a layer of awareness, a “voracious hunger” for life itself. One is about avoiding death and the other is about finding lightness in being.

Through school years and extracurriculars-of-the-moment, I'd say I wanted to be a figure skater, gymnast, pageant queen (a short-lived dream and secret until right now), actress, attorney, fashion designer, President, plastic surgeon, teacher, the Next Serena Williams, magazine editor, mom, business owner. The vision shifted focus every few months.

Mary Kate Allison Vicenzi Westport Connecticut May 2017 Mother's Day

I'd create shrines to my role models of the moment, then hide them away in shoe boxes the minute I discovered a more novel career option. A shinier object. The job almost didn't matter. Though I couldn't articulate it until recently, I think I've always just wanted to be Alive. To care about what I am doing, whom I am helping, who I am being. To be aware. To be excited.

Imagine if I'd said that in second grade. "When I grow up, I want to be excited."

Adults would laugh or furrow a brow. What is wrong with this child?

But, just maybe, they'd secretly think...How does she know?


Why do we ask kids 'what' they want to be? Should we be asking 'who' do you want to be?

Are you living or are you a Life Person?