Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Deliberate living

Oxford, England in 2009

"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life..."  Henry David Thoreau

I do not make resolutions.  I'm old enough to know that most likely, I won't keep them so why set myself up for disappointment?  However, I have been thinking about the direction I want my life to take.  (Okay, I'm always thinking about that.  It's one of those weird things about me that I can't seem to shut off.  That and adopting more kids.  There's always room for one more, right?) 

Anyway, this week, I came across Thoreau's quote and it made me stop.  I haven't been living my life deliberately.  I've been stumbling along, getting caught up in the stress of parenting, life, and everything else without stopping to "live deep and suck out all the marrow of life."  Like Thoreau, I don't want to get to the end of my life and discover I haven't lived.  I've been close to death enough times to know how short our lives truly are. 

But sometimes I forget.  I worry about dog hair on the carpet or milk-soaked Cheerios stuck to the table.  I make To Do lists and diligently check everything off.

Now these things aren't bad.  After all, I get a lot accomplished with my lists and my worries.  But when lists and worries take the place of sucking the marrow out of life, well, that's a problem. 

Living is dear.  I want to live deep and deliberately.  For me, that means putting aside Cheerios and dog hair to live in the moment.  To be more present with my kids.  To take risks with my writing.  To stop everything and play with our puppy. 

This year, I will live deliberately and suck the marrow out of life.  That's not a resolution.  That's a promise.

No comments:

Post a Comment