How many of us live in the heartbreaking company of the unlived life?
This chilling question brings two quotes to mind: "For of all sad words of tongue and pen, the saddest are these: ‘It might have been!’ " from John Greenleaf Whittier (the most haunting sentence I know) and Henry David Thoreau’s “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.”
And what is the unlived life? It is the life we want to lead, were meant to lead. In short, it is being who we are.
Being who you truly are can be a daunting task given the fact we are in so many ways taught to be anyone but. Moreover, we live in a culture that seeks to control and dictate who we are. More than many are wedded to texting, computer games, television that saturates us with the message, buy, buy, buy. And, while your at it, buy these medications because if you don’t horrible things will happen to you and oh, by the way, if you do take these medications, watch out for side effects that include growing eyes in back of your head, sprouting apple trees from your tongue, and waking up to discover your butt cheeks have melted together. Humor aside, we are controlled by fear and the nurturing of greed. And through it all, we are distracted and forget to be who we are and live in the world we live in.
I watch people of all ages walk by sunsets, beautiful skies, marvelously designed buildings, and never see a thing because they are glued to some wireless device. And then of course there is the ever present underlying poison of capitalism which is misguided belief that life is about gaining material wealth, which is a load of crap, if you’ll forgive my eloquence.
Be you. As my friend David says, “Be yourself, everyone else is already taken.” And to give you a lift, think on these two quotes from Thoreau, “Live each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences of each” and “Live the life you’ve imagined”.
You were put on this earth to be you. Not some dysfunctional version of you. Being you, after all, is the greatest gift you can give to yourself, and, believe it or not, to the world around you.
You have a right to claim the unlived life that is you.