“I don’t want to get to the end of my life and find that I lived just the length of it. I want to have lived the width of it as well.” – Diane Ackerman
I find Diane’s analysis of living life fully to be visually stunning. It is easy to get caught up in seeing just the road in front and behind us on our journeys through life–for we can look at our lives as one long road from birth to death, and unfortunately, that is how many people live it–as a long, straight road that gets from here to there in the most direct way possible. We get caught up in getting to the next point–finishing the degree, getting the new job or the raise, having the child, waiting for the child to finish high school, and so on–that we forget to stop, look around, and see all that surrounds us at any given point along the road.
There is so much of life around us, all of the time, just begging to be explored, beckoning us to experience it. Beautiful scenery, fun events, interesting conversations, scary adventures, new things for us to learn, feel, explore, and enjoy. That is the width of life that Diane speaks of–the side roads that help us to define ourselves as something more than just another set of feet on the road most traveled.
The decisions we make today will contribute to our overall experience in life. Even today, we are creating the lives that we will look back on when we reach the end of our lives. And when we reach that end, the reasons for those decisions will seem less important than when we had originally decided. Did I decide to play things safe and not take any risks, or did I decide to live the width of my life as well?
I have a feeling that when I reach the end of my life, I am going to look back on the chances that I have taken as the highlights of my life–that I will see that living the width will have provided me with the kinds of memories that will allow me to smile in satisfaction rather than sigh in regret.
Enjoy the all the moments of today–live them fully.
Questions to consider:
Do you live the width of your life? How might you do so?
How do you see the width of your life? What is it composed of?
Why do so many people stay so glued to the direct route on the straight and narrow road, seeming to look neither to the right nor the left?
For further thought:
“The things that are most worthwhile in life are really those within the reach of almost every normal human being who cares to seek them out.” – Charles B. Forbes