I need to take more of them.
I had gotten into the habit around the end of the summer, when Jen was travelling a lot and I needed a way to both work some energy out of the puppy and also relax and decompress after work. Since I’ve gotten busier this fall, I’ve fallen back out of the habit, mostly with the reasoning that I’m tired or too busy.
But what I tend to forget is that every single time I go for a walk, I come back more relaxed, with a clearer head, and with more energy than when I left. And occasionally, a decent insight or idea.
No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.
Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.
For quite a while now, I’ve been meaning to set up a new blog. Somewhere to post thoughts and notes. Improve my understanding of concepts and confidence in ideas through the act of articulating them in writing. Contribute to people out there trying to solve the same problems that I’ve just finished banging my head against. Something to be accountable to—my own words.
I’ve been meaning to do a lot of things. I have a whole slew of half-backed half-started ideas sitting around in piles in my head and in my computer.
I came home tonight and found out about Steve Jobs’ passing. From the beginning, mixed in with some amount of shock and a good deal of sadness, I had a sort of odd notion of being suddenly motivated. When I got a chance to read the New York Times obituary and other remarks, I saw his 2005 Stanford commencement address quoted a number of times. I first heard it that year, and used to have it on my iPod. It’s a very simple and inspiring piece, and I’ve found myself recalling it numerous times since then.
The moment I saw those quotes, I knew that’s where the feeling of motivation had come from. A simple reminder that we all—even the most prolific among us—have a limited time to do what we came here for. And no one is guaranteed tomorrow.
I’m a humanist. I don’t know for sure whether there are higher powers, but to me it’s both unlikely and immaterial. I believe that we have everything we need to be good human beings and that we make our own meaning in life. But we must actively make that meaning. Find goals, find passions, find loves, and pursue them.
The most terrifying fact about the universe is not that it is hostile but that it is indifferent; but if we can come to terms with this indifference and accept the challenges of life within the boundaries of death—however mutable man may be able to make them—our existence as a species can have genuine meaning and fulfillment. However vast the darkness, we must supply our own light.
I find this approach to life liberating, but it does demand effort.
In this respect, I’ve been doing a mediocre job overall. I’ve done pretty well in some areas, mostly due to luck. But in others, I’ve been lacking, mostly due to complacency.
Complacency is settling. And once you’ve settled, there’s nowhere else to go, no forward momentum, and no pursuit.
Steve Jobs was an incredible man, and achieved (along with teams of the best and brightest) quite literally more than most of us could dream of in a short lifetime. He found his loves and pursued them, he refused to settle, and he made his own meaning.
So here’s me throwing my hat in the ring. Daring myself. I don’t want to be the next Steve Jobs, or the next anything. But I do want to make my own meaning and let that drive the rest of my life.