What will you seize today in order to change tomorrow?

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106 DAYS.

106 days of this year are in the record book. 106 days that can never be relived. 106 days of wavering productivity, commitment, and urgency.  New Year’s resolutions have long dissolved into a pile of good intentions as the tyranny of the urgent has imposed her unrelenting will upon your daily decision-making. (Unless you are part of the extreme minority, 92% of you did not keep your resolutions.) The easy decision is to allow another 106 days to fade away, and then desperately try to refocus on the next year, raising the white flag to the last 100+ days.

Or . . . .

It was 1989, my sophomore year of high school was ending, and the movie Dead Poets Society was released. This movie quickly entered into my top 5 list and has never left. Dead Poets Society is a story of loss and hope. It is a story of relational conflict, unbearable expectations, and the chaotic nature of approaching adulthood. It is a story that stirs introspection and causes you to not only reflect on your life, but shoves your eyes into the future.

One of the moments that will be forever etched in my mind is when Robin Williams in this low, gruff, and somewhat creepy voice inflection, starts whispering “Car – pe Di – em. Car – pe Di – em.”

Carpe Diem, a latin phrase translated Seize the Day, dates back to the writings of Horace in 23 BC.

Don’t ask (it’s forbidden to know) what end the gods have given me or you, Leuconoe. Don’t play with Babylonian numerology either. How much better it is to endure whatever will be! Whether Jupiter has allotted you many more winters or this one, which even now wears out the Tyrrhenian sea on the opposing rocks, is the final one — be wise, be truthful, strain the wine, and scale back your long hopes to a short period. While we speak, envious time will have already fled: seize the day {CARPE DIEM}, trusting as little as possible in the next day. ~Horace

Horace wasn’t conveying that you shouldn’t plan for the future or that you should live a carefree life. He turns the spotlight directly on the brevity of life and the urgency in-which you should live your life now. It is the reality that you can’t necessarily change what happens tomorrow, ut you absolutely can influence the trajectory of your life today.

Robert Herrick captured this same sentiment 1600 years later in his poem “To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time”:

Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old time is still a-flying;
And this same flower that smiles today
Tomorrow will be dying.

What do you need to seize today?

  • What dream is welling up inside of you begging to be unleashed upon this world? Carpe Diem!
  • What addiction has its talons sunk deep into your flesh?Carpe Diem!
  • What fractured relationship is in your relationship world that desperately needs to be restored? Carpe Diem!
  • Who do you need to forgive, not because they deserve it or have asked for it, but in response to the forgiveness God has extended you? Carpe Diem!
  • Who do you need to reach out to and encourage? Carpe Diem!
  • What step of faith are you needing to take – not because it is logical or fits your organized process -but because God is leading? Carpe Diem!
  • What do you need to stop doing today in order that you can maximize your time and energy tomorrow?Carpe Diem!

Make that phone call. Send the email. Outline the first draft.  Craft the first paragraph. Block-out the time. Initiate the conversation. Develop the strategy. Bring to the light what has been in the dark.

Take the first step, today. You never know how this one, single, step, can radically shift the trajectory of your entire life. It is easy to get polarized because of the “might be” of the future. Fear has an amazing ability to crash into your mind – immobilizing you from that critical first step.  So just take it.

1989. 25 years have passed since I watched Dead Poets Society for the first time. Before I know it another 25 years will pass. I will be in my mid 60’s and my life will be in a radically different phase. I am not sure what the next 25 years is going to unfold, but I am going to maximize every day – living my life-like it is my last.

Carpe Diem!

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