I remember the first time I encountered the phrase Carpe Diem, or for those non-Latin speaking folks, Seize the Day, was way back in and around 1989 when the movie Dead Poets Society hit the big screen. I was, well, a lot younger back then, still playing with my Barbies and Polly Pocket, still dreaming about growing up to become a published author. I had no idea what this movie would come to mean to me later in life when I somehow became an English High School teacher. I still get a little teary eyed when I watch the scene near the end of the movie when English teacher John Keating (played by Robin Williams…sigh) is being forced out of the school and all of his students stand on their desks to show him how they are willing to Seize the Day and stand up for him (watch here). The whole point of being a teacher, IMO is to inspire greatness, (whatever that greatness means to each student) and to help them smash away the barriers that may prevent them from reaching their goals.
For me, seizing the day means taking some risks, pushing outside of comfort zones (safely and without causing great personal harm) and being open to trying new things. I believe that opportunities come when you’re open to them and when you’re willing to put yourself out there. That’s why while I was writing my newest release, Keep Me Wanting, I felt it was important for my main character, Maggie to be the kind of person who was willing to push outside of her comfort zones, to be bold and brave, to try new things and to fight for what she believed was in her own best interests. It’s a hard kind of battle to fight because it meant, for Maggie, that she had to go against the wishes of her mother and her sisters, who all mean well but don’t totally get why Maggie would rather struggle for something she loves than go the easy route.
Those things that are worth fighting for make life exciting and yes, they can, at times, make life exhausting too. Seizing the moment, the day, the year, it all means pushing ourselves to take chances we wouldn’t normally take and this means and looks different for everyone. Maybe to you it means something as extreme as quitting your job in favor of a new career path. Maybe it means going back to school to finish something you started. Maybe it means trying that weird looking pastry that you don’t think you’ll like…but might just be the best thing you’ve ever tasted. Maybe it’s going on that trip you’ve been putting off, or texting that person you get really tongue-tied around. Maybe it’s cutting your hair or telling someone what’s really going on or how you really feel. Whatever you decide your Carpe Diem moment is, I say, do it.
Take a risk, like Maggie does, and see what happens.
All of my Carpe Diem moments seem to revolve around my life-long dream of being a writer. While I’ve relentlessly pursued my goals and repeatedly Carpe Diemed, I’m not going to lie, becoming a published author didn’t transform my life in any extravagant way. It hasn’t lead me to great riches and exotic trips, I’m not world-famous (yet). It has, on more than one occasion, given me the thrill of connecting with someone who loves my work and that’s enough of a boost to keep me going, to keep Seizing the Day and exploring the possibilities. I’m still an English teacher. I’m still trying to inspire my students. Right now I’m working at inspiring new teachers as well. But what I’m thinking about now more than ever, thanks to my Maggie, is what might happen if I find a way to Carpe Diem toward a full time writing gig because that would truly be my lifelong goal achieved.
Have you had your Carpe Diem moment yet? What was/is it? If not, what (or who) would be something in your life that you’d like to work up the nerve to seize?
Post a comment with your answer to the above question and be entered to win a $15 Amazon GC!
Where can you find Angela’s newest release?