I Want to Live
“How vain to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.”
My friend presented this Thoreau quote to me one evening as we sat at a sparsely-populated bar waiting for a band to go on, discussing life and the inevitable question of what exactly it is that we want to do with it.
In the past, I’ve always seemed to have a confident reply to this question of what to do with my life. It wasn’t until last summer that the ever-dreaded “I don’t know” polluted my formerly pristine answer. However, this “I don’t know” seemed to apply more to the question of “So, what are you doing after you graduate?” which really just means, “So, you got a job yet?” My “I don’t know” was in defense of my lack of employment, but not necessarily in defense of what I wanted to do. Even then, I seemed set on a certain career path, on certain goals that I had formulated for myself throughout college.
Yet now that I’m out of college and working actual jobs with actual responsibilities and making actual money in order to pay actual bills, I’m finding that I don’t actually know what I want to do with my life. The work that I thought I was after, the major that I devoted an entire 3.5 years of study to, the career that I prepped for throughout my undergraduate years… this suddenly seems like the wrong path for me.
I’m realizing that what I THOUGHT I wanted to do was really just a feeble solution to appease what it is I REALLY want to do.
I want to write. It’s what I’ve always wanted to do.
The fulfillment I have from finishing a piece, surprised that these words came from the ink of my pen, came spilling from my own mind trumps any fulfillment that I’ve had from any other work.
More than anything, I must write.
But how vain to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live!
So I want to travel this astounding world, meet interesting people, immerse my soul in good music, revel in many nose-crinkling, eye-watering, head-thrown-back laughs. I want life and goodness and love to pour into my heart so generously that it swells large enough to engulf my entire body.
A life of writing is a life of living.
So what exactly is it that I want to do with my life?
I want to live.