“Live each day as if it was your last…” the saying goes. In the past, people would add something like, “Because you never know if you’re going to get run over by a bus.”
For us in South Africa, the expression has changed to, “You never know when you’re going to get run over by a truck.” A few weeks ago, a truck’s brakes failed and it mowed down four minibus taxis and a car, killing 24 people on the scene.
It becomes even more real for those of us who drive past the site every day.
I did that this morning, and as I looked at the memorial crosses on the side of the road, I thought about those people who died there. I wondered how many of them had accomplished what they had dreamed of. I wondered how many of them had dreams at all.
I first became familiar with the saying “Carpe diem” in the movie “Dead Poets’ Society”. Admittedly, my friends and I were more interested in the array of cute guys than anything else… at least during the first viewing. We went to see it a second time, and fell in love with the poetry. I still have my exercise book where I copied down the poems mentioned in the movie. I still know snatches of them by heart.
Carpe diem is actually from a Latin poem by Quintus Horatius Flaccus (65 BC – 8 BC), and has come to be translated as “Seize the Day. The idea was used in the poem by Robert Herrick…“Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old Time is still a flying.
And this same flower that smiles today,
Tomorrow will be dying”
And in “The Road not Taken” by Robert Frost…“Two roads diverged in a wood and I,
I took the one less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference.”
We need to seize every day and every opportunity to really live. Not waste any part of our lives. Not stagnate in mediocrity.
I want to look back at my life, and know that I never stopped trying.