I subscribed to Thoreau for a while in high school. I dipped my toe into Walden Pond and found that it gave me some of the life force I needed to get through. Get by. To navigate the spectrum of my life which at one end was “cool” cheerleader and at the other was how-to-be-a-nerdy-thoughtful-old-soul-type-person. In the middle was a kid with divorced parents who sought meaning, connection, and purpose.
Back then I thought living life “deliberately” meant retreating to this field that I’d discovered where I took pictures of plants, wrote some poetry, and alternated between having a good cry or making out with my boyfriend. Then I would return to the world to do the best that I could. Which was, in retrospect, pretty good-it was fun and meaningful-ish.
Today, living life deliberately often means something else completely. Older. Less dramatic. Mundane, perhaps? It means that tonight I did something I do quite often these days-I watched a movie. In tonight’s movie, Mr. Keating did something so suddenly deliberate and so incredibly inspiring when he climbed up on his desk simply to see the world in a new way. And then-all of a sudden, I found myself standing on my bed and looking around my bedroom.
The room looked different from up there. The discarded belt on the floor had a different sort of kink in it and the white noise machine that lulls me to sleep sounded more echoed. The pictures on the wall had less of a glare than they do from my side of the bed. Mundane? Yes. Dramatic? Yes! Perhaps these observations had a bit to do with the martini I was deliberately enjoying, but they had much more to do with where I’m at in life right now.
The dreams I’ve recently decided to conquer with loud gusto instead of bury in “quiet desperation” stood me up on my bed tonight. A few months ago I was scared. Then hesitant. Now, I’m hopefully sucking the marrow right out of life and smiling at my young self in kind humor, reflecting on how I thought I understood it all then and how I might be on my way to figuring it out a bit more now.