Thursday, February 26, 2009

"Live Deliberately"

My American Lit class has finally given me something to write about! I so completely love Henry David Thoreau! The man just flat speaks my language. I haven't yet had the priviledge of reading Civil Disobedience, but now that I've read some of Walden, it is on my personal reading list for the near future.

Something I love about Thoreau is that he is completely stolidly against authoritariansm. I think every day, I become a little more anti-authoritarian myself and so I LOVE LOVE LOVE what he has to say. He talks about how people are virtual slaves to all the things that they think that they have to do- I would argue mostly because of societal expectations. We think we need so many more things than we do and we allow all the extra things to bog us down and prevent us from that most important exercise of using our own minds.

Here's a delicious passage about fashion:

"We worship not the graces, nor the Parcae, but Fashion. She spins and weaves and cuts with full authority. The head monkey in Paris puts on a traveller's cap and all the monkeys in America do the same.... Every generation laughs at the old fashions, but follows religiously the new."

I seriously laughed when I read this because I'm not a person of fashion at all and I see some of th people around me getting all wrapped up in clothes and brands and it really is silly. Why not find clothes that are comfortable to you? Why not find clothes that fit your particular type of body well? I get tired of trying on clothes that fit me horribly because the fashions are designed for people that are a size 2!

Thoreau's famous experiment at Walden Pond was designed to show people that it is possible to live more simply. Certainly, no one has to go to the extremes of moving out into the woods and building a cabin. There are so many ways we can simplify our lives right where we are. I'm going to get together with as many women as I can from my ward to have a yard sale when its warm enough this spring. It will be a good opportunity for all of us to get rid of all the things we have in our homes that we do not need.

More importantly, though, I feel the need as always to shake off the expectations of everyone in my life and learn to live bravely the way that I want to live. I listen too much to those reasonable practicable people who try so kindly to change my course. I want to pursue a life of writing and helping my husband with his personality and temperament research. It would be easier in some ways to do something "smart" like nursing school, but I could never be happy if I wasn't allowed to be creative in my work. I can't give in to anyone else because at the end of the day I will always have to answer to myself.

The choices you make follow you around like little murming ghosts and I want to like what the ghosts are whispering in my ear. I never want to hear, "But what could your life have been like?" As Thoreau says:

"I went into the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear.... I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life...."