“The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars.” – Jack Kerouac, On the Road
If you’ve ever read On the Road, you’ll agree that Jack Kerouac is as “mad” as they come. But I love his zest. He wants life, wants to squeeze every drop of experience out of each moment. I think if more Americans lived that way, yeah probably the economy would halt and whatnot but we’d feel so different.
I want to be one of those mad people. Some days I am. Other days it’s easier to get mired in the things I convince myself are all-important – replying to emails and selling my textbooks and that sort of thing. And on those days, the anxiety kicks in. It’s like a black hole. Get too close to the things that don’t matter and suddenly they’re sucking you in and you’re being pulled deeper and deeper.
This sounds very cliche, and very middle-class-entitled-blah-blah-blah. And it kind of is. But what I’m saying is, to use another quote, “To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.” (Oscar Wilde)
So let’s live. This year I’m vowing to challenge myself not to settle. I will work hard and challenge myself. What the world gets will be me giving everything I have for what matters. What I get will be a sense that I truly lived, and used the gifts I have been blessed with for something that makes me feel alive. “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead
One last thought: “It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new. But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful. There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power.” – Alan Cohen