Carpe Diem – Live Life in the Moment

Life is ShortCarpe 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.

Fitbit Product Family

The Mom Stays in the Picture

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!

What’s Your Excuse?  The Story of Irene

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!


  • Michele

    Awesome article Mel, on a great topic! I have had this realization at the beginning of the year and decided to “take the bull by the horns” ( so to speak) and to live the life I wanted to live. I’m not letting excuses or fear stand in the way of the life I want to have as I head into the 5th decade of my life. I agree… CARPE DIEM!

    • Melissa (@TheDailyMel)

      So proud of you, Michele!!

    • Christy_TheSistherhood

      Way to go, Michele!!

  • Tammy

    Mel, I really needed to read this today! I’m meeting a high school classmate (a guy) and his family for dinner tonight. I haven’t seen him in 10 years, and all I could think about while getting ready this morning was finding something that would look good in the pictures because I’m heavier and older now. Now, I’m just going to try to enjoy the time with someone who knew me when and still cares about me today – regardless of looks and age!

    • Melissa (@TheDailyMel)

      Good for you, Tammy!! Enjoy your dinner. :)

    • Christy_TheSistherhood

      Have a great time, Tammy!!

  • Bari_F

    Love this. There are very few pictures of me with my kids – when they were younger because I hated the way I looked and now because they’re teens and don’t want their pictures taken. So sad.

    • Melissa (@TheDailyMel)

      Thanks, Bari! Hopefully your kids will get past that “OMG, my Mom wants a picture with me?!!” stage soon and let you start taking photos together. :)

  • rc

    I spend a lot of time behind the camera because I am ashamed of how I look. =( I need to focus on changing that behavior.

    • Melissa (@TheDailyMel)

      We can do this!! It’s a tough shift, but so worth it in the end as we move more toward self-acceptance and loving who we are at every stage of our journey through life.

  • ItsMeVsMe

    Good gravy, this is all so true. There are some days (most days) when I just feel like I’m going through the motions. Thank you, Mel.

    • Melissa (@TheDailyMel)

      I know what you mean, Thea. I’m definitely very guilty of it. There are times when I get up to leave for work on Monday that I realize I’ve never left my apartment since getting home from work on Friday night because I’ve been cooped up studying and such. Even though my schedule is crazy busy, I still need to make time to get out and enjoy life!

  • Rntgirl Kirsten

    ((sewing new star from me on your hero cape))

    • Melissa (@TheDailyMel)

      Awwwww. I heart you so much! xoxo

  • Christy_TheSistherhood

    So true. I am always the one behind the camera, but lately I’ve been handing it over to my husband, or using the auto-timer so I can be included.

    Mel, you are awesome, and I love you dearly. It’s so exciting to see you going through this process of real self-discovery. I think we can all learn a lot from you!! xoxo

    • Melissa (@TheDailyMel)

      Great idea on the self-timer, Christy!! Love you right back and thanks for always being there and cheering me on as I progress my way through this journey toward better health and living! xoxo

  • Lisa

    After seeing your post on FB yesterday and readig the ink, I tried to take a photo with my kids in all of my sweaty, non-makeup exercising glory. I couldn’t get the three kids to cooperate, LOL. This weekend though, I am all over it! Thanks for the reminder and the great post!

    • Melissa (@TheDailyMel)

      Thanks, Lisa! Hey, at least you tried. LOL I can’t wait to see what you come up with when you wrangle them this weekend. :) Love you!!

  • Nancy Collins

    This is the best post that I have read in a long time. Thank you for the wonderful reminder. I am totally taking it to heart. My granddaughter is spending the night and my daughter is taking lots of pictures of us. I am almost always the one behind the camera. That stops now. I will include myself and stop being the invisible woman. Love you, Mel!

  • KCLAnderson (Karen)

    This post moved me Mel. I am just now (a month away from turning 50) starting feel truly comfortable in my own skin (no matter what my weight) and it makes me realize how much time I wasted. It also motivates me to have more skin the game, so to speak. Thanks for reminding me :-)

  • Renee aka Pinky

    I love this Mel. we worry so much about the details and the unknowns that we don’t actually LIVE in the moment that we are in. I don’t like to step out of my comfort zone, but I do it occasionally (going to Fitbloggin for example was major and I was very nervous about it, because it was “risky” and “unknown”) and I’ve done it again at work (we talked about it a bit via DM’s on twitter…) but that doesn’t mean I’m not scared out of my tree. The more we live in the moment, the scarier it may seem but at the same time we are experiencing MORE… if that makes sense? Anyway, you said it much more eloquently than I, but I just wanted to thank you for this and say I agree wholeheartedly :)

  • Shellie

    Love your post Mel! For me, carpe diem happens with my kids all the time. I need to remember to follow my own advice that I tell my kids and third grade students, to follow my dreams. I have had a dream to be a published author. I started a book over four years ago (just cringed when I realized how long it has been). I completed 7 chapters, got scared about the what-ifs and stopped. I need to finish it. I need to carve some time for me. Thank you!

  • Kristin Rimkus

    I’ve talked with Heather at Half Size Me. She is an inspiration for sure. It’s so hard to live in the moment, isn’t it? In many ways we are because we deal with the day to day tasks so we’re living that moment, but when it comes to really experiencing it? At least for me, I’m just on auto pilot. This is truly a thought provoking post.