go confidently

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Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you’ve imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.

~Henry David Thoreau

Life can be so complex, so maniacally wearying. Every once in awhile it’s such a joy to step back from the maddening crowd for awhile and pursue one’s dreams and imaginings.

As I type this my heart is full of gratitude. For friends, for family, for this beautiful quiet late-night moment that I’m curled up on my couch with a silky kitty at my side, contemplating Thoreau. Remembering the first time I read his words, more than 20 years ago, and knew that they were true.

4 thoughts on “go confidently

  1. amelia

    i’ve known the first two sentences of that quote for years. and i have often repeated them to myself–a kind of mantra. but for whatever reason i didn’t know the third. and knowing it now feels like confirmation.

  2. saraarts

    I love that in spite of Thoreau’s assertion of joy at “stepping back,” you have mentioned your family and friends here.

    One thing that, IMO (as you know), gets far too overlooked in discussions and contemplations of Thoreau, his philosophy, and his own achievements, is the supporting role played in his life by his friends and family. People don’t realize that he wrote Walden in woods that were in walking distance of his parents’ house or that his sister used to bring him dinner while he lived there (and didn’t you tell me she did his laundry from time to time, too? or did I hallucinate that?). He, too, was a contributing member of his close family and tight-knit community, but I wonder what he would or could have done alone, if he ever would have been heard or read without the pencil-maker father and all those writers around him. I wonder if he would have been so confident.

    Sometimes I think people get the impression from quotes like this that he is advising us to just stride confidently alone into the beaming light of Destiny, to break off from the pack and just be. And in his idealism, he might be saying exactly this. But in fact, he didn’t live this way entirely himself. He followed his dreams, thought his thoughts, spoke his speeches and raised his rabble from within a loving embrace of many.

    It is very rare for anyone to just step outside his house one day, walk away, and Achieve Great Things. Those of us who love and are loved, regardless of whether we ourselves wish to Achieve Great Things, need to keep in mind that we are the supportive architecture of other people’s dreams. While we are off striding confidently, there’s no shame in holding someone’s hand every step of the way.

    Or so say I.

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