Gather Ye Rosebuds While Ye May

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 to-day
To-morrow will be dying.
— Robert Herrick, 1600s,

I watched Dead Poet Society the other afternoon while I was working, and it was very nostalgic for me. The film came out when I was 15-years-old and the message of Carpe Diem affected me profoundly. It changed my whole perspective on life, just like Keating’s lesson of standing on the desk, things in my own life suddenly looked differently to me.

Sort of like Jim Carrey in “Yes Man”, I suddenly started enrolling in everything, sports, show choir, drama, running for school mayor, all these things I wouldn’t have done before, not because I was scared really, just because I was unaware of the concept of taking my own life by the reins. I to that point let life just happen to me.

I was also strongly drawn to the ideas of rebellion in the movie, because in the real world in 1989 I was completely obsessed with what was happening in Tiananmen Square in China as millions of people took to the streets to be heard, only to be quashed by an oppressive government ruling with an iron fist. But that is a whole other story.

Watching Dead Poet Society again, I was still sickened when the students capitulated and signed the faulty confession making their mentor out as the scapegoat for their classmate’s suicide instead of his bully father. To me, it showed that they only changed superficially and never truly became individuals and non-conformists. But I assume without that moment of weakness the movie could not have ended with the students standing on their desks and calling out “O’ Captain. My Captain.” I cried like a baby. I am impressed by the director’s choices for Cameron, the fink, to not stand, and to also have other unnamed students that were not in the Dead Poet Society to stand, because they too had been affected by Keating’s teaching of self-awakening even if they were not told in the main plot of the film.

“I went to the woods because I wanted to live deliberately, I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, To put to rout all that was not life and not when I had come to die Discover that I had not lived.”
— Henry David Thoreau, Walden, 1854

Then as I got older, I moved on to making my life extraordinary by taking different kinds of risks – trying things far less wholesome as school activities. I wanted to open my perspective to the world and try all things to decide for myself what was truth and what was merely dogmatic. Perhaps, that path involved too much partying, but I have no regrets. I sucked the marrow out of life and truly enjoyed the ride much more than had I just taken the road MORE traveled.

Sadly, I live far less deliberately these days, except with my kids. I try to remind myself constantly, that these are precious times with them, and I should be 100% engrossed in the moments I spend with my girls. I fail at this about as often as I succeed, but at least I try far more with them than the rest of my life. I did just find this article with 15 tips on how to live more deliberately, it has some great advice.

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
— Ferris Bueller

One Response to “Gather Ye Rosebuds While Ye May”

  1. Wow good post!