Reading past journal entries lately, I have seen a recurring theme. I regularly wrote about how I should spend my time more wisely. The past few months, that same theme has been front and center. I’ve had much more discipline in how I spend my time. Like many Americans, I am prone to spend a lot of time on social media, looking up sports news, or reviewing the trivia section on IMDB about a movie or TV show I just watched, among other things. Lately, during time I might have usually spent engaging in such activities, I instead choose a “novel” idea (pun intended) and read a book or write something, whether it’s my personal journal, blog entry, or an article for the online newspaper for which I write. By disciplining myself to engage in more constructive pursuits, I’ve noticed that I’ve been happier and more optimistic about life. I feel more fulfilled – more satisfied. I live with fewer regrets.
I’m not saying spending time on social media and reading sports news is inherently bad. It’s not. It’s spending nearly all of one’s free time in such pursuits that can drag a person down. Spending time doing more constructive activities, like writing and reading, is part of the impetus of this blog. I have realized lately all over again how much I enjoy writing and that I’ve got more to say than what’s in my personal journal, and if I’m going to write it, I might as well share it.
As I have been preparing for this blog, I ran across a poem of its namesake, entitled “A Psalm of Life,” originally published in 1838. My three favorite stanzas of this poem are:
In the world’s broad field of battle,
In the bivouac of Life,
Be not like dumb, driven cattle!
Be a hero in the strife!
Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time
Let us, then, be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labor and to wait.
In the first stanza I’ve listed, I especially enjoy the line: “Be not like dumb, driven cattle!/Be a hero in the strife!” This tells me to not be like everyone else, to not be a follower, but a leader. The second stanza provides hope, telling the reader our lives can be sublime and that doing something in this life that can positive affect future generations is something for which to strive. The third stanza tells me to be active, to pursue and do my best to achieve dreams through hard work and perseverance.
I’ll admit, I’ve started a lot of things in my life that I’ve never finished. I’ve even started other blogs before, but never followed through. It’s the stick-to-it-iveness that I’m lacking and that’s going to change. I start this telling myself that even if no one reads it, by keeping it going and putting myself out there, I’ve still achieved something. I compare it to coming in dead last in a marathon. So what, right? The important thing is to finish.
Making good use of my time will be a lifelong pursuit. And it starts today with more resolve than ever.