“I went to 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. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms…”
— Henry David Thoreau, Walden
You only get one shot at this life. Don’t waste it.
Please. With all that is in me I am pleading with you.
For too many years, I have fought to figure out what it was I am supposed to be doing with my life. I would read books or articles about doing what you love and my heart would stir a little. I would watch movies where people follow after their passions and discover who they truly are and I would want what they have. In fact, I would get a little bit jealous knowing that all these people that I am reading and watching have it all figured out. They knew beyond a shadow of a doubt what it was that they were meant to do and they were willing to jump in with both feet and go after it.
I wanted that. I wanted to know that I know that I know my true purpose and destiny. I wanted passions that burned so brightly within me that anyone who looked at me could see that I was on fire.
I wanted this because for the majority of my adult life I feel like I lived in a sort of haze; a fog that got me from day to day, with no real way for me to see anything other than what was right in front of me. Somewhere along the way in this fog:
I left my heart behind
I buried my passions.
I lost my purpose.
In fact, I’d say that I didn’t even know that I had a purpose. If I did, I thought it was just to do whatever I could do in a search for the ever-increasing yearly salary. My purpose was just to provide for my family regardless of whether or not I was happy doing it. It didn’t matter that I hated what I was doing. My family was “sort of” taken care of. That is what truly mattered.
What I have discovered is that the fog can be lifted. I’ve learned that I can do things that I love and provide for my family at the same time. I’ve since come to understand that there are things I am meant to do that bring me life and that can bring life to others.
Slowly but surely I am finding my heart, recovering my passions, and living more and more in my purpose.
You can too.
Over the next few weeks we are going to talk about a number of different topics. We’re going to talk about the passions and desires stored up in your heart. We’ll chat a little about the missions in your life that are meant only for you. We will take some time to talk about the purpose you were given on the day you were created. Finally, we’ll talk about what it’s like to live a life of freedom; a freedom that’s found when you live inside your purpose, under a mission, informed by your passions.
When you’ve reached the end of your days I want you to be able to say, like Mr. Thoreau, that you have sucked out all the marrow of life. That you “put to rout all that was not life.”
I want you to know that you didn’t settle. That you lived life abundantly, with abandon. That you gave it your all and that you don’t have any of those “I wish I had” moments. More importantly, I want you to start to live that life now.
It’s going to take some work, but it can be done. The good news is that you don’t have to do this alone. We’ll walk together this road “less traveled by” as Robert Frost would say. I’ll see you next week for part one. Grab your walking stick. Let’s go.