I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. – Henry David Thoreau
Henry David Thoreau wrote this about the two year period he spent living in a cabin near Walden Pond in Massachusetts. Thoreau was brilliant at reducing life to its most basic components. His stay at Walden Pond, which was the foundation of his seminal work Walden, showed that brilliantly. It was brilliant not so much because he spent it communing with nature per se, but because Thoreau was completely in his element for those two years, doing exactly with his life what he should have been doing.
We should all be doing with our lives what we should be doing. We can’t all go live in a cabin by a lake, but we can all follow our hearts and trust our instincts. We can all make our time serve us.
…to front only the essential facts of life…
I don’t really think there are that many essential facts. My favorite is we only have a finite amount of time on this planet. Not only that, we don’t know how long that time is or, unless you’re going to be executed, when that time is going to end.
Another is that we are all issued talents and ambitions at birth. The most useful lives are spent by those who utilize and get the most out of these talents. Squandering the gifts we were born with does not do us or our fellow humans any good.
…and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.
All of must prepare for the time when we will be obliged to look back and examine our lives. When our time comes to do this we must be able to say that we did well and that we did not squander our precious time on this planet.