I Believe in Living Deliberately

Gina - USA
Entered on April 30, 2007

I went into 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

For some, beliefs come from experiences, and from things they have learned throughout their lives. For me, many of my beliefs come from things I have read and have been taught. This above quote, in my own interpretation, is something I live my life by. I believe each day must be lived as uncomplicated as possible, and to the fullest.

I see each day as a fresh start, regardless of the past, and I am not overly focused on the future. No matter what each new day brings, one constant remains, we will all perish. It is sometimes a morbid way to view life, however, it remains true. With the passing of people who are close to me, I am constantly reminded of this, and choose to make each day count. I believe there are few things significant enough to trouble myself with, and when my time comes, I do not want to wonder “what if”.

I believe keeping life trouble-free is one of the hardest things to do, and I have had times in which I was not able to do so. When times like these occur, I simply clear my mind, and try to put things into perspective, remembering that most worries are insignificant. I also recall those things I consider essentials, and realize that my life’s little troubles are meaningless in the great scheme of things.

Appreciating the finer things in life takes understanding those things that are the simplest, like the smell of a cookout on a summer afternoon, the sight of trees full of colors in the fall, the sound of carols at Christmas, and the taste of a warm home-cooked meal shared with family. When we peel away from all the things that complicate our lives each day, these are the things that get further and further away from our senses. I believe Thoreau’s quote reminds us to live our lives to the fullest and without regret, and to appreciate the simple things in life. It reminds us of things that make us feel happiest from the inside out, not the outside in.

Plainly, each day our lives become more and more complicated with expectations of happiness and what some would like us to believe it is. Sometimes it seems that happiness and living well means getting that big job with the big title and making the big money so we can live in a house that’s too big for us. We think we must drive a big European luxury car and vacation on big islands. Basically, we live far too big and complicated for our own good. These are the things that absorb so much of our time trying to accomplish, that before we know it, so much valuable time has passed and we’re not sure if we truly were happy or not. It’s when we get the opportunity to sit back, reflect on the essentials of life, and see our lives for what they really are that we can then determine our own happiness.

How many people consider me a best friend? How many times have I made someone else’s life a little easier by making mine just a little harder? How often can I say I taught someone something that saved them from making a mistake that I had already learned a hard lesson from? How many times can I say that I have been a leader instead of a follower? When it’s all said and done, these are a few of the simple questions I would like answered in a positive way. These are the things I want people to remember me for when I die, and in making each moment count, I can evaluate these things throughout each day.

I want to be able to pass on with no regrets, having learned lessons from my failures as well as my victories, and knowing that I did all I could to live fully and happily, in my own understanding of happiness. Each day brings a new set of challenges, battles, struggles, pressures and expectations. I believe that keeping life trouble-free is an impossibility, because I run into troubles in my life each day. However, I also believe that we must constantly remind ourselves that it’s the simple things in life that allow us to find happiness from the inside out, which, I believe is living deliberately.