January 17, 2011

Carpe Diem.

Carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero – 
"Seize the Day, putting as little trust as possible in the future"
Quintus Horatius Flaccus
Roman Poet

I recall that when I was a little girl, having very little perception of time, it felt endless and vast. Future was far removed from my consciousness while I dreamed of adventures ahead of me, all that would come to pass once I became an adult. Old age and death was a time span so alien to my thinking, it never preoccupied my mind.

As a teenager, my favorite sentence with which I would strike a conversation used to be "When I grow up, I will..." . I was already a dreamer at a very young age and my dreams only grew and developed, never to cease. When I still carried on this way close to being twenty, my mother used to gently make me aware of how ridiculous I started to sound as I was already an adult and indeed all grown up.

Nevertheless, despite my vivid imagination and the dreams and the adventures which I envisioned as a young girl, I realized at an early age that indeed the future very rarely turns out the way we wish. Thus I learned to distinguish between the idea of having dreams and making plans.

Life without dreams is like gazing at a night sky never to see the stars or the moon. Our dreams and hopes define who we are and they add a dimension to our days, making our time here count. But to plan a future is an impossible task, leading to terrible disappointments and heartaches. Perhaps it also causes us to miss out on the best that life has to offer, as the best in life lies in the unexpected and unplanned, in detours and wrong turns.

The beautiful aphorism at the beginning of this post has always made sense to me and to the sentiments with which I view my reality. Despite the fact that I enjoy taking sentimental walks in my past, recollecting unforgettable moments in time, I never dwell on years gone by, nor do I live with one single regret. I lack capability to do so, perhaps because I live in the present. I make decision today, basing them on the knowledge I carry with me presently, deciding with my heart, my intuition and my conscience. This comes naturally to me - every hour in every day has an incredible potential and I view it as priceless and unique.

The minutes as I am typing this will never come to pass again. The light will never again fall in that angle across my keyboard, nor will the same clouds be passing across the sky. The same last sun rays, as the remains of the day move towards the time of twilight, will never shine on my face again the way they do at this very moment, making it so very extraordinary.

As much as I relish in dreaming of the future, I also realize it doesn't belong to me. Not yet at least. And therein lies the infinite magic of life. Despite the fact that the future can feel uncertain and can fill us with feelings of anxiety and apprehension, those same reasons make it wonderfully exciting. Not knowing what might come to pass is endlessly exhilarating.
To worry about what life might throw our way will only make us live in fear and prevent us from taking decisions, from making necessary changes and from taking chances.
I recall once stumbling upon a great set of sentences to the likes that if we expect troubles, we will experience them twice. Furthermore it is futile to prepare oneself for less than pleasant circumstances for two reasons: one; what we worry about might not come to pass, two; usually the troubles we worry about the least are the ones that will occur.

The past is forever gone, the future is not ours to see - thus all we are left with is the present. To live fully we need to embrace everything that comes our way, while we keep our positive outlook and a childish innocence. In my perception, carpe diem means not to just live today, but to realize that the magic of today is all we truly posses.
And that is often more than enough.

"One has to abandon altogether the search for security, and reach out to the risk of living with both arms. One has to court doubt and darkness as the cost of knowing. One needs a will stubborn in conflict, but apt always to total acceptance of every consequence of living and dying."
Morris L. West 


Elizabeth said...

Fantastic post for the blue monday.

S. Susan Deborah said...

What wise thoughts for today, Zuzana. You seem to be very reflective and contemplative. Sometimes life's different experience leads us to many thoughts which enables us to probe deeper into every action. I have always loved the phrase 'Carpe Diem.' They talk of seizing the day, which talks of the present. As you have rightly mentioned, the present is all that we have. The moment this comment goes up, it has passed my hand and belongs to the past. Such fleeting is time.
I am glad we are able to dwell on all these things. Thanks to you for humbly reminding me to seize the present.

Joy always,

Jerry said...

"Seize the Day, putting as little trust as possible in the future" -- I wish that I had learned this lesson at a younger age. I somehow was pretty sure that the stars would align just right so that my dreams would be realized...with little thought that there is a difference between dreams and accomplishment.

So many say, "Life is a bitch" or "Life is unfair". I think that is the wrong message. Life is life and it is up to us to figure out what the wonders are and embrace them.

Kath said...

My Dad died unexpectedly aged just 61. He had so many plans for the "future". Since then, my mantra has been "Seize the day" or in other words, "Just do it", you never know how many days you have to enjoy. It has stood me in good stead, we are now living what might have continued to be a dream.
I enjoyed this very contemplative post.

A Bit of the Blarney said...

"Life without dreams is like gazing at a night sky never to see the stars or the moon." I like this. You see it means to me that there is hope. Perhaps the dreams never come true but still there is the hope of achievement. The dream is the beginning, perhaps a goal. The reality comes when the goal is achieved, maybe later than sooner as we had "hoped." Wishing you a wonderful week! Cathy

Brian Miller said...

you might as well have written that for me...smiles. i am working to get back to there, i just fell a little forward chasing those dreams...

got you em too...just got busy this weekend..but ty...

Gal Friday said...

Thank you for making my day--these words you have composed here are so wise and well chosen. I think you should consider publishing some of your entries from this blog, one day(and gather all those amazing photos into a big coffee table book!)

Anonymous said...

As a child I don't think I ever said out loud the words, "when I grow up I want to be", but I had many thoughts about it rambling around in my head. None of those ramblings ever came true. Maybe I should have tried harder?


Unknown said...

Wonderful, thoughtful post Zuzana. I especially like the phrase: "To worry about what life might throw our way will only make us live in fear and prevent us from taking decisions, from making necessary changes and from taking chances."

Nezzy (Cow Patty Surprise) said...

Oh sweetie, this is soooo true and very well written!

If we could only keep that childlike attitude livin' life I'm sure the need for prescription drugs and physiotherapists would plummet.

This is probably why I love to surround myself with children. I'm a retired teacher, I teach pre`teen Sunday School, I'm the Kid's Church leader and baby don't forget my eight grandkiddos. Yep, just like Peter Pan, I'll never grow up! Heeehehehehed!!!!

I've been gone. 'Spent the past week in TX with my family for my Dad's memorial service.

God bless you sweet one and have a grand day!!!!

Mahmud Yussop said...

Such a wonderful post,Zuzana. Wish to add a little note here. The sooner we accept our life's limitation the happier we accept our reality that forever is changing us. Recognising our life's potential and undertaking moves to express our becoming is magical enough for me. I thought life begins at 50. This year at 60 tis looking even more fantastic.

Cat in the road said...

Quoting your words "...the best in life lies in the unexpected and unplanned..."
Many of my favorite moments have been unexpected and unplanned.
I personally like the saying; "We make plans and God laughs."

Velvet Over Steel said...

Yes, we have to 'plan' along with our dreams!! So insightful, true & amazingly written post, Zuzana!! Aweseome!!!!

Thank you!! Have a Wonderful week my friend!!!

Foxglove said...

Such wise and beautiful words Zuzana that captivate the soul to drink in the knowledge that we find in our days is truly wonderful.

Enjoy the beautiful days that lay ahead. xxx

Bossy Betty said...

Just the right tone for today! Thank you so much. The line about expecting troubles really sticks with me.

Thanks so much for this inspirational post.

steviewren said...

If I believed in past lives, I'd say that you were once a Greek philosopher, my friend.

I love this line that you wrote, "In my perception, carpe diem means not to just live today, but to realize that the magic of today is all we truly posses."

That is a thought that I must remember to practice.

Sophia's Lover said...

Crape diem

Tu ne quaesieris, scire nefas, quem mihi, quem tibi Don't ask (it's forbidden to know) what end
finem di dederint, Leuconoe, nec Babylonios the gods will grant to me or you, Leuconoe. Don't play with Babylonian
temptaris numeros. ut melius, quidquid erit, pati. fortune-telling either. It is better to endure whatever will be.
seu pluris hiemes seu tribuit Iuppiter ultimam, Whether Jupiter has allotted to you many more winters or this final one
quae nunc oppositis debilitat pumicibus mare which even now wears out the Tyrrhenian sea on the rocks placed opposite
Tyrrhenum: sapias, vina liques et spatio brevi — be wise, strain the wine, and scale back your long hopes
spem longam reseces. dum loquimur, fugerit invida to a short period. While we speak, envious time will have {already} fled
aetas: carpe diem, quam minime credula postero. Seize the day, trusting as little as possible in the future.

...thanks...sweet Lady!

Anonymous said...

You're so right - life is made up of small moments that we must enjoy - otherwise we miss our life.

This is a lovely lovely post! Reminds me that we have to give up the life we have planned to really LIVE the life we have.

Sukanya said...

Loved this post Zuzana!! Very much wise and thought provoking. So true, Present is all we have. And we should seize every moment of it. We should also have dreams and hope about the future to make this present day worth living!!

Have a great day Zuzana.


Myrna R. said...

Beautiful post and so true. I am trying hard to focus on the Now, to appreciate the isness of all. Don't always succeed. Too often I spend time dreaming of how things could/should be, instead of accepting that I only have now...the way it is.

Claus said...

As a young teen, the future was all that matter. Unfortunately, thinking and planning of the future made me sick (literally!, as strange as it might sound) and it stressed me out in unimaginable ways. When I started working, and attending school at nights, the thought of the future became even more stressful. One day, out of the blue, I decided to live the day, the present moment, and take day by day as they came. What a change!! I live by that these days. While I still dream and hope, I feel happy and content with whatever life brings my way daily. I don't expect much, feel satisfied with little, and those dear and close to me are more than enough. Tomorrow will be another day, and it will be greeted with the best attitude.

Just my thoughts...
have a lovely day!

Dan said...

Goodness, what a thought-provoking post Zuzana! I like your thoughts on the differences between dreams and plans.

Auntie sezzzzzz... said...

Yes, Carpe Diem has to mean to embrace the magic of today. After all, it says to "seize"! :-)

Lovely entry...

Hugs & ♥'s...
'Cause Valentine Day is coming!

A Lady's Life said...

Very nicely written.
I never wanted much except to have a nice family and husband and house to live in which could be made into a home but with all of life's turmoil
and with people all having a mind of their own, this simplest of all things is very hard to do.
You wish and you wonder if what you want will ever come to pass before you are too old to enjoy it and have to believe that one day your dreams will come true.
But if they don't, well there are other things to do and other people to do them with. I love to collect things believing my kids will treasure what I treasure but they do not see value where others see a lot.
I call this immaturity and hope I live long enough for them to learn where my husband and I are coming from. lol I don;t worry about it though and leave it in God's hands. We can do, only what we can do.

sprinkles said...

"Life is what happens when you're busy making plans!"

I don't know who came up with that quote but I've found it to be true. I'll plan something and life throws a wrench in it and things don't seem to go according to plan. Sometimes it's for the better, other times not.

Or sometimes I'll be so busy making plans that I don't realize I've already got everything I was desperately seeking.

Very wise post today, Zuzana!

adrielleroyale said...

This is such a great reminder for me - especially on a day like today when all seems pointless and lost. The dreams in perfect balance with making plans and living in each moment we are given...God help me, I'll get there. :)

SandyCarlson said...

I am grateful that the magic of your now it he magic of my now at this moment! God bless.

(REM has a new album coming out in March. You can sample it at http://youtube.com/remhq. It sounds awesome.)

Unknown said...

Very touching and heartfelt, Zuzana. I feel compelled this year to pursue dreams I have allowed to be placed "on hiatus". I am particularly mindful that there is more than one way to access our dreams too. xoxo! :)

jean luc said...

Beautiful post , and so true. A beautiful philosophy. Your words are so deep , it's a real pleasure to read your post
Carpe diem , kisses

Reading Tea Leaves said...

A wonderfully contemplative post Zuzana. I agree with Steviewren, you are most indeed a philosopher.

I followed my dream 20 years ago when I went out to Australia. I had no idea how long I would be there, in the end I stayed for a whole year and had a wonderful time! Today I'm also living my dream. In my little cottage in the country, a dream since childhood!

To live for today and to get the most out of every day is a gift I think, and one you most certainly possess, dear friend.


Anonymous said...

GREAT POST! yes.. we must grasp the moment and enjoy the spontaneity life has to offer!!
Have a great fun day!
:) Lord Thomas of Wellington

Ines said...

Hi, dear Zuzana-

today I had the time, to translate your wonderful post .

I think, children are so lucky, to live in the presence. Adults are busy and have not the time to enjoy every day.

I live in the presence since my childhood. I am happy, that I never lost that good feeling.

I am not able to think to much about the future and I never look back.

It´s hard to make plans with me :-)

But: your thoughts form the future. So it´s really important, what you think. Only wishing what is really good for you. Never having bad thoughts. To stay the mind positive (I hope, my English is always correct...).

I love YOUR thougts- they are deep and from the bottom of your heart.

Look out of you, Dear-

enjoy this day- every single minute...


~*~ saskia ~*~ said...

Such wonderful post, Zuzana, strong words!
Have a happy happy day. xx

Nessa said...

Beautiful. We would all be happier if we embraced the moment more fully.

Laura said...

Rajesh said...

Dream always keeps one alive. I have also been a dreamer and I just love my dreams.

Phivos Nicolaides said...

Well, dear Zuzana, may I ask you "When you grow up", what are you going to do besides blogging??:)

Zuzana said...

Elizabeth, Susan, Jerry, Kath, Cathy, Brian, Tina, Di, Jane, Nezzy, Mahmood, Scribe, Coreen, Foxglove, Betty, Stevie, LSL, ladyfi, Sukanya, Myrna, Claudia, Dan, Amelia, Lady, sprinkles, adrielle, Sandy, Michael, jean luc, Jeanne, The Bach, Ines, saskia (welcome), Nessa, Laura, Rajesh and Philip – I love all your beautiful and substantial comments and I am so glad to learn that this post resonated with you, in so many different aspects.

How amusing it is that some of you find me to be a philosopher - I guess I just have to much time on my hands, thus I think about almost everything I encounter.;)

Thank you so much for always finding the time to stop by and reading so carefully even my more contemplative posts. It warms my heart…


Unknown said...

You have such a great attitude! One of my favorite quotes is by Woody Allen, "How do you make God laugh? Tell him your future plans". But our personal family motto is "Not if, but when".
One last, we have corrupted "Carpe diem" to "Carpe Felinus" Not an actual translation but meant to be "Seize the cat" because no matter what the problem is, grabbing a warm and cuddly feline will always improve things.

young-eclectic-encounters said...

Beautiful, insightful and inspiring post. Just what I needed to read today. Thanks so much for sharing.
Johnina ☺☺☺☺☺

Zuzana said...

Kat and Johnina, thank you so much ladies.;)