All the horrors of a half lived life

Adrian Gilpin
Jun 1, 2015 · 2 min read

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 …”

Pathfinder Blog

To inspire you to be fearless in life, work and all things.

    Adrian Gilpin

    Written by

    Chair of Institute of Human Development. Creator of Pathfinder. Author. Speaker. Coach. Reach at

    Pathfinder Blog

    To inspire you to be fearless in life, work and all things.

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