My high school English teacher showed Dead Poets Society at the end of every fall semester. As trees grew bare, Robin Williams inspired our impressionable young minds as John Keating by getting on top of his desk, reciting poetry, and encouraging his students to write their verse. My worldview shifted, though not for the better, when Keating pulled his class out into the hall to look at photos of generations past and remind them of the fragility of life.
“Carpe . . . carpe diem,” Keating whispered. “Seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary.”
Yes! Yes! Something awoke within me. Let us make our lives extraordinary!
I ran with it — full tilt; Carpe Diem felt like the key to unlocking all my dreams. I felt like a philosophical genius pulling this Latin phrase out as my life motto, its sophistication far outweighing that of today’s YOLO declarations.
I let carpe diem guide my steps for years and learned the hard way that while the phrase works as a momentary encouragement or a yearbook quote, as a way of life, it fails.
If we jump, move, and boldly pursue whatever we crave because tomorrow we may die, we sacrifice wisdom for desire. The urgency of the moment hijacks our tomorrows, and though another day is not guaranteed, chances are it will come….
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