When I was a sophomore in high school my Honors English teacher had us watch the film The Dead Poet’s Society to go along with a literary work we were reading. I remember coming into class that day and anticipating sleeping through the entire movie. As the movie started I was captured by Robin William’s character Mr. Keating and never did end up getting my nap. This professor encouraged the boys at Helton to look at things in a different way and to find their own voices. Throughout the film Mr. Keating did various exercises to get the boys to think outside the box and to go out of their comfort zones even if it meant going through momentary, healthy embarrassment. “Carpe Diem” he would say, “Gather ye rosebuds while ye may.” As I sat in my metal desk in the very back row in the very back corner of the room watching these events unfold on the screen before me, I began to look at my life and realized that I had spent most of it in the very same position I was in now- watching. I was always watching and was always in the very back row in the very back corner. It is this moment that prompted me to make a change.
Seizing the day- this was a new concept for me that I yearned to embrace but didn’t know how. However over the next few years I slowly began to understand that it was actually quite simple. Carpe Diem. All I had to do was to step out and take it; grab the day and squeeze all the life out of it that I could. But oh how hard that was. In order to seize the day I had to step out of may comfort zone- my little shell that I had spent my whole life perfecting. I had to leave this warm, familiar place and look at it for what it really was- a dark, dangerous corner in the back of the room. In order to live my life to the fullest I had to step out into the light, take the risk and let people in. I had to make the choice to take chances and make mistakes. I had to learn to be okay with failure and rejection and most of all I had to TRY. I could no longer be okay with drifting through life being the lazy, passive person I had been for the past 15 years of my life. If I was going to seize the day every day, I had to put in some major effort.
It is this part that I am still working on. Daily it is a battle for me to not go back to the selfishly quiet, withdrawn and fearful person I once was. Everyday I hear the little voice whisper in my ear, tempting me to stop trying to live by “Carpe Diem” and go back into the corner, back into my shell. With every day and every moment I have to make the conscious decision to take the risk and live my life to the fullest. Every day I have to choose to believe in what Mr. Keating from The Dead Poet’s Society believed in and “Carpe Diem”. Everyday I try and live my life to the fullest in order to not waste a second of this precious gift that has been given to me. I believe in seizing the day because when I do, I experience things I never dreamed I would.
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