Sunday, April 24, 2016

The quotable Mr. Thoreau

This is an insanely popular quote. To the point that people have had these words tattooed on their bodies.

It also served as the inspiration for the title of my little corner of the internet here on this blog due to it being my favorite quote from a literary figure I have revered since reading an excerpt of Walden when I was 15.

You see, I can most assuredly be classified as a Transcendentalist. It has been thrown at me by professors as an insult before (literary nerds have weird insults). The whole "people and nature are inherently good" philosophy is practically my life motto. Actively engaging in life to benefit your circumstances or the circumstances of causes that you hold dear is what I do. 

My current job and choice of employer is clear evidence of that.

However, the events of last week ignited all of my pent up frustration about this waiting game and I found my brain raging against this quote. I was pretty angry and felt that this quote, which has had a deeply rooted place in my heart for over 10 years, was deeply flawed.

After all... I have spent years going quite confidently in the direction of my lifelong dream of motherhood and I am nowhere NEAR living the life I have imagined. In fact, that aspect of my life is playing out more like a nightmare at the moment. All the self reliance in the world will not fix my broken reproductive system OR our adoption struggles. 

I actually planned to write this very blog post about how wrong this quote was and how I would be changing the name of this blog to something new and different.

In my search for a new quote, I stumbled across the Walden Woods Project misquotations page. This quote I have loved for so long is actually a famous MISQUOTE . The actual quote as it appears in Walden is:

“I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”

Henry David Thoreau

Isn't it amazing how a few words can make all the difference? I love the inclusion of the word "endeavor". I love that there is more there than a simple cause and effect structure. Whereas I have always understood the quote to be almost an "if, then" statement (IF you go confidently in the direction of your dreams, THEN you will live the life you've imagined), it is, in fact, an anecdotal observation that we all must try our best to be the people we wish to be and be open to a fluid interpretation of success.

That is something I think we can all embrace. 

No comments:

Post a Comment