1/31/07 – My 10-year-old just finished up a report on Jack London and it revealed to me just how little I knew of the famous California writer. The author of "Call of the Wild" and "White Fang" had some dark moments in his life, like most people. But he was also a very inspiring man in many ways. We now have a postcard of one of London's most inspiring thoughts on our refrigerator. Two lines stand out to me in particular. One reads "I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom in me in magnificent glow, then a sleepy and permanent planet." The other is "The proper function of man is to live, not to exist."
How profound! It's Carpe Diem all over again. Seize the day!
How many of us really LIVE our lives? How many of us aren't merely stumbling through our days merely existing. Is that good enough? There's an old quote attributed to comedian Woody Allen that goes like this: "90% of success is just showing up." Most of us are able to "show up" just about anywhere. But is that really 90% of success? How could motivation and a love for life fit into that small 10% that remains? It doesn't make sense.
I turn 36 tomorrow. I am not worried. I don't really feel old. Maybe because I started feeling old when I was a teenager. Maybe now I am reversing my course. It does make me think of all the days or months or years where just "living" seemed good enough to me. It was the easy way, the comfort zone. I was bored and largely unhappy.
Did you start your day today living or existing? At what point today did you realize you are in control of your destiny and happiness? Did you realize it all? Well, now you have! Whether you are about to do laundry or run a marathon, feel every moment of it. live it. Stop merely existing through your days. As Mr. Keating told his students in the movie Dead Poets Society, "Make your lives extraordinary." It doesn't mean you have to throw yourself out of a plane or cure cancer. It does mean you should become a little more aware of where you are at this very moment. Right now. And you should realize that any simple organism can exist. That is easy. Living is the hard part. But it is also the most rewarding. Try it. Live your life. I dare you!
Jack London's quote ends "I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time." Use yours. Now!