“Carpe Diem”, the Latin phrase popularized (in part) in the movie Dead Poet’s Society, is most often translated as “seize the day”. A more literal translation is “pluck the day” (as one might take a ripe piece of fruit). In more recent years, the idea has been transformed into the anachronism YOLO (You Only Live Once). The sentiment and the wisdom suggested behind this idea is the avoidance of procrastination and of foolishly thinking we have lots of time to get around to certain things.
Of course, there has been no guarantee of a tomorrow since forever.
Collectively, mankind has been complaining about that for just as long.
As often is the case when we are confronted with the larger questions in our lives, most of us stumble out of the gate. We decide that ‘seize the day’ means that we should try to cram as many sensations, pleasures or indulgences as we can afford into every twenty-four hour period. This attitude or approach to the uncertainty of our longevity is unhealthy and unsustainable. It frequently leads to our untimely departure, the very thing we were worried about initially.
I have come to understand that the simple and sincere appreciation of each day, with all of the varied moments it offers from foods, to sounds, to conversations, to exercise, etc., etc., is the fullest measure of ‘seizing’ we ever need to do in order to be happy.We take so much of what each day has to offer for granted. We’re so rushed that we forget, completely overlook, ignore or discount the life we actually have, the people we love and the gifts we’ve had freely bestowed.
I use the word ‘we’ quite deliberately. I am included. No amount of self-awareness will ever allow someone to outgrow their humanity. The purpose of self-awareness is to embrace our humanity more fully and completely.
A guide who isn’t walking the path with you isn’t really much of a guide. He’s more of a pointer.