Every man dies, not every man really lives. – William Wallace, Braveheart
I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. I’d like to think of myself as being a lot of different things. I have a lot of ideas. There are only so many things that I actually do (or did), though. I’m the guy who went to culinary school. I’m the guy who is building a house. I’m the guy who avoids releasing his emotions. I’m the guy who has made people cry (and sometimes I make them laugh… there are times they make me laugh or cry). You don’t get points for what you wanted to do or what you wished you hadn’t done.
Henry Thoreau made a statement once about “living deliberately”. I guess there is more than one way to interpret that (all probably equally valid). To me, it means thinking about what I want my life to represent. Do I want to be that guy who climbs a mountain? Do I want to be the guy who has regrets? Do I want to be the guy who only thinks of himself? Do I want to be the guy who makes someone smile?
I’ve always wanted to do nearly everything. I think it all sounds interesting or rewarding. The problem with that is that I have trouble choosing one thing because it means rejecting another. Which has led me to a place where I don’t hardly do anything… or a place where I start things and then leave them unfinished after something else begins to occupy my mind. Life is too short. I’ve realized that I can do anything, just not everything. I have to make choices about who I want to be based on what I do. At the end of the day, what I have done, what I do, and what I will do make up the person that I am and will be. I have to decide what I want my life to represent. I have to work out my own salvation with fear and trembling.
For some reason, achieving “inner peace” is something I’ve thought I should have achieved by the time I’m 30. Maybe I still think that. There are other things I think I should have or places I should be at in my life by the time I’m 30. I’ve always thought that by the time you’re 30, you should have your shit together. Your life should have taken shape. You would be on your path.
The odd thing about being able to do something is making a choice. But a choice can only exist when there is more than one option. I can’t decide not to break a board unless I actually can break it. I think that’s why life is so dynamic. There are so many paths that you can take so that you might take the right path. Without the other paths, there couldn’t be a correct one. Because I must choose, because I must do something (and inaction is an action), there are things that I am, things that I am not. There are things I will be and things I won’t be. There are things I will be to some people, and things that I won’t be to some people. That’s okay. That’s a good thing. I can no longer try to be everything to everyone. I can no longer be everything to myself. There’s nothing wrong with that.
Somethings shouldn’t be easy, eh? Today, I’m the guy who is at peace; who is calm; who is living deliberately. That’s what I’ve decided. That’s what I’m doing. Now.