A man studying in a library with an open window to the forest

I Will Live Deliberately

In Walden, Henry David Thoreau built a cabin in the woods that he might live deliberately. He wanted to get rid of the unnecessary claims on his attention so that he could focus on the act of being human (80).

It struck me yesterday that we’re all looking for our personal Waldens. There’s a force within that tells us something is missing, that we’re not quite living to the full extent. Ralph Waldo Emerson, in his essay titled Self-Reliance, would suggest that we’ve scattered our force. We’re so busy juggling church, society, and familial requirements that we’ve lost sight of what we are capable of accomplishing. Our force is divided (143).

You hear stories of the greats and how they single-mindedly approached their work. For Thoreau, he was called to write. The man penned over 2 million words in his personal journals and published Walden, a foundational text in American Literature. Had he scattered his force, he would never have made an impact so large. Your work might be your kids, a side hustle, or perhaps you keep bees. There’s no right answer to what you should do, only that you must do it.

Since I teach that we should read slowly, take notes, and apply the ideas – I’ve decided to launch my own Thoreauvian experiment. I’m not building a cabin in the woods, but I am going back to college to get a Bachelor’s in Philosophy with a Minor in English Literature. One day, I’d like to write something that truly matters, and I’d also like to build the greatest bookstore this world has ever seen. I am going back to college because I wish to live deliberately, to front the essential facts of life, and see if I can learn what it has to teach, so that when I come to the end of my life, I can say that I have lived (Thoreau 80).

Until tomorrow, read slowly – take notes – apply the ideas.



Works Cited

Emerson, Ralph Waldo. The Portable Emerson. Edited by Carl Bode and Malcolm Cowley, Viking Penguin Inc., 1981.

Thoreau, Henry David. Walden and Civil Disobedience. Vintage Books, 2014.

Published by

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *