Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Rethink Carpe Diem

The lovely Latin expression, carpe diem, made famous in the hit movie, The Dead Poets Society, provides us with some interesting food for thought. In English, it is translated, "seize the day". Many of us take this to mean, "make sure you cram as many activities and stuff to do as humanly possible into this day and don't stop until you drop," which is sometimes useful.

But, there lies another possibility, not to replace the "get 'er done now" thinking, but to extend and enrich the concept about what it means to really seize this day, enjoy this day, this moment. I've had this nagging thought on my mind lately as I have worked so very hard to get this second dissertation chapter nearly finished, and in my mind, rushing ahead to write the next chapter, and the next, and the next, and then the book.

But what a loss it would be to spend the next six months, or more, so immersed in writing that I don't take time to notice the wonderful sound of spring rain that's falling right now. It would be like winning the battle, in that you finish the project, but lose the war, in that your life escaped without your noticing it.

Of course we want to get as close as we can to the good life. But there is no "there" there. Life is now; it doesn't begin when you finish the project. So take a moment and seize it, savor it, focus on what you enjoy about this very moment. Find the beauty, the goodness, the justice, and the truth, in what you're experiencing right this very moment.

Carpe diem.