All the horrors of a half lived life

I was flipping through some old journals of mine, and I came across this.

I don’t remember when or why I chose to stop dreaming about what I could be when I grew up. It was a very long time ago.

Perhaps my imagination ran dry: but I don’t think so.

Perhaps I didn’t have a good enough brain or wasn’t good enough to achieve my dreams: but I don’t think so.

Perhaps someone laughed at my dreams; perhaps someone told me I could never amount to much; perhaps I had learned that he who wants never gets; perhaps I had accepted that I ought to be happy with my lot and it was somehow wrong to want more.

Perhaps I believed people when they told me I ought to get my head out of the clouds; perhaps it made me feel foolish when people called me a dreamer; perhaps I had accepted the general view that life was a series of massive compromises, that I couldn’t make my dreams come true.

Perhaps I always felt small when I was among other people — less bright, less beautiful, less interesting, less able, just less than them; perhaps I was too afraid to fail or seem ignorant; perhaps I just didn’t want to feel different, but to fit, to be like everyone else.

I can’t remember now which of these things stopped me dreaming about what I could be when I grew up.

And, anyway, what did I have to complain about? I had a good roof over my head, food on the table, a privileged education and a happy family. Why was I always wondering what was the matter with me?

And then I read a handful of words by Herman Melville. I felt a tremor surge through my soul.

For as this appalling ocean surrounds the verdant land, so in the soul of man there lies one insular Tahiti — full of peace and joy but encompassed by all the horrors of a half lived life.

Sometimes when I look around me, people seemed to be only half alive.
Sometimes I feel only half alive.
Time is slipping away.

It’s time I really started to live in such a way that I will never find myself saying, “if only …”

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