‘Carpe Diem’ before it’s too late!
A friend of mine recently left a successful career and went back to school. He feels both pain and pleasure immersing himself in studying as an older student. As he is getting ready to graduate, he is reminded of the line: “I don’t want to be something. I just want to live.” He said, “the last few years I spent abroad was not the time to become something but to live as myself, and I have come to realize how to live my life from now on.”
It then became clear to me why the questions about the second part of my life made me so uncomfortable. People don’t ask me how I would live, but what I would become. We have become accustomed to postponing the present to become something in the future. We suspend the high school days for college admission, and we don’t live the college life because we are focused on getting a job. We concede our young days in our 30s and 40s to buy a house and support children. Now, we are asked to postpone our 50s for a second career. Why are we postponing our youth for a better senior life, thus sacrificing a better life for better death?
A wealthy old man enjoying his retirement in the Caribbean saw a local young man living idle. “You should work harder and make money instead of wasting time here. Then, you can spend the summer in paradise like me,” he advised. But that’s exactly the kind of living that the young man was enjoying his whole life.
Actor Robin Williams passed away recently and in the movie “Dead Poets Society,” the inspiring teacher he plays says, “Carpe Diem,” meaning “Seize the day!” We live in the present. How we live today is more important than what we become tomorrow. In fact, we already know the truth.
*The author is a culture and sports news editor of the JoongAng Ilbo.
BY YANG SUNG-HEE
JoongAng Ilbo, Aug. 16, Page 27