Archive for December, 2014

November 29, 2014

Dear Mason,

Let this be a lesson in and of itself. My last note to you was 6 weeks ago. Time flies, my boy. It really, really flies.

I wrote Carpe Diem on the wall in your nursery. The Latin phrase is from a poem written by Horace. It is part of the longer phrase “carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero”, which can be translated as “Seize the day, put very little trust in tomorrow.” The ode says that the future is unforeseen and that one should not leave to chance future happenings, but rather one should do all one can today to make one’s future better. The phrase “carpe diem” is often used differently in contemporary popular culture, to justify reckless behaviour (YOLO, you only live once). The meaning of “carpe diem” as used by Horace is not to ignore the future, but rather not to trust that everything is going to fall into place for you. Take action for the future today.

I’m not going to lie and say that I’ve even come close to seizing all my days in my life. I’ve often felt like a failure in life, as a Marine, as a college student, in the hobbies I play with on the weekend. Life’s hard. However, seize the day might as well translate as seize your life. You are alive every day. Make the most out of your day – short term goal. Make the most out of your life – long term goal. It’s never too late to start something. If you find yourself thinking non-stop about something, it doesn’t matter if you’re 30 years old. Go after it. It’s never too early to start something. If you’re feeling like a fat-ass because you’ve sat on the couch all weekend playing video games, don’t tell yourself you’re going to workout Monday morning – go work out right this very second. I can’t count the times I’ve gone for a run or a bike ride at 1 a.m. I’ve woken up at 4 a.m. miserable because I was lazy for a long time and gone for a long walk or run or bike ride.

The secret to seizing your days is to never give up. If you’ve been super busy for several weeks, make the best of your time. There’s always enough time in the day. People that say there isn’t enough time in a day don’t work the entire 24 hours to prove themselves right. People that don’t seize the day are people that watch TV every night of the week instead of cleaning their house and then complain that they couldn’t get anything accomplished all weekend because they were cleaning.

If you end up like me, you won’t know what you want to do with your life until you’re much older. That’s why it’s important to remember it’s never too late to start. However, you’ve got to think about it. You’ve got to plan. You’ve got to realize that you can’t wake up one day and just seize the day. There’s a fine line between Carpe Diem and just #Yolo. “You only live once” is blowing off your homework and going to the beach all weekend. Carpe Diem is doing your homework in the car on the way to the beach and working out when you get there as opposed to drinking beer all day and being lazy. It’s fun, but in the long run, it’s a waste of a day.

One problem I’ve encountered with seizing my days is the herd mentality. It’s hard to be a one man band. You need to find like-minded individuals and become friends. If you get a group of friends that’s very inactive, it’s going to be hard to go on hikes or runs or bike rides. If all they want to do is drink and party on Friday night, and sleep all day on a beautiful Saturday – forget them. The world is way too big to sleep in on Saturday.

Either way, never give up on seizing your days. You’ll only get so many.