Monday, September 15, 2008
12:05:05 AM EDT
It's not enough just to live life, we must seize it.
DB - The Vagabond
"Carpe diem" Horace wrote, (Seize the day).
I used to know a radio announcer who was on the air from 6 in the morning until noon. In the control room where he worked there was a small, square calendar, the kind with a single date on each page. You know the type, Hollywood movies were fond of showing the passing of time by having the pages blown away in the wind.
Every morning, when this announcer came to work, one of the first things he did was tear off the page from the prvious day, crumple it up and throw it in the basket.
I came to work at about the same time and one morning I found him in a loud, shaking rage, yelling at the announcer who had just worked the all night shift. The regular all night announcer was off that night and a replacement announcer had been there. At some point after midnight he had removed the page from the calendar and the morning announcer was yelling at the poor fellow over it.
The morning man went on the air and was his usual charming, entertaining self, but he considered his day was ruined because he couldn't perform his morning ritual of the new day. "Seize the day" does not mean tearing a page off the calendar.
Life is confusing, chaotic and challenging and we help ourselves through it by developing dependable patterns of behavior and thought. The danger is letting those patterns take the place of life itself. Someone wrote to me recently about a woman who only votes the way her husband tells her to. If you keep your house clean and neat as a pin (whatever that means) it's a good thing, but it should never take the place of adventure.
Ever since that pivotal day when my teacher/mentor said "Can't you find anything to do?" my life has been spinning. Every day, even in my reduced circumstances, I still find activities, sometimes just mental, but always with a positive goal. Even when things become emotionally bleak, as they periodically do, there is always some puttering to be done, some bit of chaos to be put in order. Life is never the way we want it, and if it is it doesn't stay that way for long. There is always more life to be lived than we are living, there is more to life than we know, so why not seize it and discover it. Investigate things with imagination and observation and find that there is always something more to do.
Beethoven continued to compose music even after he became deaf. Matisse continued to make art works even after his eye sight went dim. To seize life is often uncomfortable and unbalancing but if we don't do it we have no life at all.