The Thought for the Day – Thoreau

In short, I am convinced, by both faith and experience, that to maintain one’s self on this earth is not a hardship but a pastime. – Henry David Thoreau, Walden


Henry David Thoreau (1817-62) was an American writer, naturalist and philosopher. He was born and spent his life in Massachusetts. Though Walden is generally accepted as a classic of American literature, Thoreau earned his living independently of writing, as an educator, surveyor and in the family pencil-making business.

Walden is a chronicle of his time living in a cabin at Walden Pond. Thoreau spent two years at Walden Pond, though the book is condensed into a single year period.

Thoreau may well be our species foremost proponent of making our time serve us and his influence on this column is acknowledged.

We only have one shot at life on this planet. This is true regardless of your religious beliefs. You may believe you are destined for eternal life with a supreme being, or you may believe you are coming back as something else or you may not believe either of these things. In all cases, you have only one chance at this particular life.

Now, there are some born into circumstances that give them little chance for anything more than hardship. There is little we can do about this because it is the way the world is built. Since time immemorial there have been those born with little chance.

If you’re reading this, you probably do not fall into that category. If you’re reading this you have an Internet connection and know how to read. Odds are your time on this planet is relatively easy.

So it’s reasonable to ask yourself is your passage on this planet a hardship or a pastime? Only you can answer that.

We have two options. We can get the most out of the talents we were issued at birth or we can fight the natural order and spend our lives chasing pleasure and reacting to outside circumstances and influences.

We must all follow our path. Now, your path may not lead to fame and fortune. Good. Fame and fortune are demanding masters. We must follow our hearts and trust our instincts. Doing so leads to life being a pastime, a life spent making your time serve you, instead of a life spent merely serving time.

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