I first registered LiveDeliberately.org when I was in college. I had just read Walden by Thoreau and was inspired by his philosophy. It wasn’t so much that I wanted to do what he did, but I was deeply intrigued with the idea of deliberately choosing one’s life.
“I went to 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; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms…” ~H.D. Thoreau
I don’t want to live alone in a small shed for the rest of my life. As it turns out, neither did Thoreau. He only lived on Walden pond for a couple years before he returned to New England society. But he came back with a clarity of what he did, and did not, want out of his life.
At the time, the insight altered the course of my life. I lived simply and was the only mechanical engineering student in my class without a car. Instead, I took everything I saved and poured it into travel. I lived and traveled overseas to dozens of countries on a shoestring budget and lived for the adventure. My college experience was not everyone’s ideal. I didn’t graduate in record time, join a fraternity, or go a single football game. Others chose a different path. And not only is that ok, it’s the whole point.
Today, decades later, my life is much different. Can one Live Deliberately into middle age with a mortgage, a daughter, and an unexceptional office job? Watch this space, and we’ll find out together.