Carpe Diem is a Latin phrase first penned by the Roman poet Horace in ancient times. It was made famous again in these modern times in the 1989 film Dead Poet’s Society (Holy crap! That movie is 23 years old already?!!). Anyway, back to my point, the phrase is interpreted as “seize the day.” It’s intent is to encourage us to live life in the moment and make the most of our time on this earth.
This topic has been on my mind a lot this week. I’ve really been taking a long hard look at whether or not my life exemplifies the whole carpe diem philosophy and I’ve come to the realization that it falls far short.
There have been two things this week that prompted this whole through process. Each one moved me deeply, but in different ways — one from a sense of relating to the author’s words, and the other from the sheer conviction of the life lesson it taught me. Since both had me thinking so much, I thought I would share them here with all of you.
If you’re on Facebook or Twitter, you may have already heard or seen about this story since it was being shared quite a bit this week via social media. It’s an article from Huffington Post Parents by freelance writer, Allison Tate. She tells the story of recently being at a family party and having her 5-year old son come up begging her to go take pictures with him in the photo booth. She shares about how hesitant she was to do it because her hair wasn’t coiffed, she had on little makeup, she weighed more than she wanted, etc. etc. etc. I won’t spoil the whole story because you should all definitely go read it. (Warning: you might need some Kleenex!) What I will share though is what I ended up taking away from it and how I could relate to her story even though I don’t have children.
The story made me realize just how often I’m the photographer capturing the moment rather than being in the photo living the moment. Is that because I’m an amazing photographer? No, although I think I do an OK job. It’s actually because I’m so self-conscious of my appearance that I don’t want to be in the photo. The result? Some of the most amazing things I’ve experienced in life don’t actually include me in any of the photos. Or, of the few that do, it’s just from my shoulders up because I don’t want my full body in the photo. All of my closest friends laugh at me because my famous line when it comes to being in a photo is, “boobs and above!” Life is just too short for me to worry that much about what I look like! I shouldn’t be passing up the chance to have photos of myself and friends experiencing all the awesome things I’ve done/seen just because I’m reluctant to have a photo taken of myself due to my weight!
The second thing that really struck me this week was the latest podcast from Heather over at Half Size Me. (If you aren’t already familiar with her podcast, you should check it out because it’s great!) This episode (which features an interview with the amazing Sheryl Yvette!) is dedicated to Irene – a BodyPump instructor who taught at the gym where Heather is a member. She passed away in the last week or so after battling cancer for the past year. What about that was so moving? Well, she continued to teach her BodyPump classes at the gym … between chemo sessions! In fact, she was still teaching up until about six weeks before her death and, according to the event description on a benefit page for her on Facebook, most of her students never even knew what she was going through despite having a very aggressive form of cancer. Amazing! It really made me stop and think about how often I find every little excuse in the book for giving in to a food temptation, skipping a workout, etc. Yet, here was Irene leading classes at 60 years old all while battling cancer. Wow. Rightfully so, it makes every lame excuse I have be just what it is — bullshit. It made me stop and consider: How badly do I really want this?
What about you? Are you living your life to the fullest or just simply existing? What are you missing out on while sitting on the sidelines? Life is too short to settle for merely existing. Don’t miss out on all that life has to offer — we all need to live in this moment!
My challenge for each person reading these words is to go out and do something today that pushes you out of your comfort zone. Do something that really makes you feel alive! If you have kids, take some time to go outside or to the park and play with them. Take photos with them and not just of them, regardless of how you look! Build a memory with them that they’ll cherish for a lifetime. If you don’t have kids, then grab your spouse, partner, friend, family member … just someone you love and go out today to make a moment to remember.
Laugh. Love. Live. Carpe Diem!