What are you staying alive for?

Back in 1989, Dead Poets Society captivated us. Carpe Diem. Seize the day. Suck the marrow out of life.

Fast forward nearly three decades and let’s be honest. Some days life sucks the marrow out of us. Sandwiched between generations, we’re pushed and pulled, playing competing roles like it’s a one-woman show and there’s no understudy. Whole days seize us. Entire weeks are lost in an abyss of catch-up, as we triage tasks on an ever-growing list, relieved if we end up on Friday where we began on Monday and not two steps behind that …

Medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for.
– John Keating, Dead Poets Society

Poetry, beauty, romance, love and a million variations on that kind of theme.

Nights out with friends
Books and tea
Open fires
Beach walks
Mountain climbs
Bungee jumps
Theatre shows
Cooking classes
Roller derbies
Sky dives
Star gazing
Stadium concerts

Anything that reminds us we’re here for more than meeting deadlines and keeping things ticking over from one year into the next.

What are you staying alive for?

Love and connection with your people, of course, but beyond that, what lights you up? What makes you interesting, not to other people, but to yourself? What delights you? Enthrals you? Drives you?

Maybe it’s hard to seize a whole day. Maybe it’s only possible to seize a part of it. Even a pause of 15 minutes spent doing something you truly adore can make an enormous difference to the quality of your life in one given day. And one good day can improve a whole week.

John Keating challenged his students:

The powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?

Amidst the chaos, despite all the responsibilities you’re juggling, even when you’re falling down and wondering if you’re getting even a small part of this right, what will your verse be?

What are you living for?

We can still make our lives extraordinary, even from here. Even from ‘ordinary’.

We can still stand on our desks, and look at things in a different way.

Need our help?

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About The Author

Emma Grey & Audrey Thomas

Audrey Thomas and Emma Grey are productivity experts, authors of 'I Don't Have Time' and its forthcoming sequel 'I Can't Be Bothered', and co-founders of the popular online program, My 15 Minutes. They help busy women reclaim their time and energy around the real-life challenges of modern life.

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