Editorial: Seize The Day; Put Very Little Trust in Tomorrow

“Carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero.”

This longer version of ancient poet Horace’s now-classic aphorism translates into, “Seize the day, put very little trust in tomorrow (the future).” Generally chopped after the third word, “carpe diem” has become a time-honoured, rallying cry about making the most of our time on this planet, while never taking for granted the fact that tomorrow may never come.

 

CarpeDiem
Good looking nothing. Photo: Marc Mackay

by Feet Banks

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In the Coast Mountains, that spirit can inspire us to pursue our dreams to their summits and seek out adventure in the mists of forgotten places. It can guide us to craft a life worth living but, like everything from dating to trying sell a cookbook, these days the Internet is screwing it up.

One doesn’t need to read too much philosophy to figure out how unlikely it is that ol’ Horace scratched those words down on scrolls in the hopes it would eventually help you to justify skipping work to start day-drinking vodka, and making poor decisions on a rope swing in search of YouTube fame. Even 2039 years later, there needs to be a difference between carpe diem and #YOLO.

One doesn’t need to read too much philosophy to figure out how unlikely it is that ol’ Horace scratched those words down on scrolls in the hopes it would eventually help you to justify skipping work to start day-drinking vodka.

Or does there? If everything evolves, and change is the only constant in nature, perhaps it is time for humanity to seize fewer days for a while, and instead, let some slip by.

There is nothing wrong with doing nothing.

As information bombards us exponentially faster than it ever has before in the history of life itself, there becomes increasingly more value in letting your mind, your awareness, and your entire day just drift away into nothingness.

And the best place to do it is outside, in nature, in the summertime. Mothers have known this all along (“You’re bored? Go play outside!”), but science is beginning to quantify the benefits of idle time. That rhythmic bliss of listening to waves crashing endlessly, or watching the wind dance through a forest canopy is quite likely helping your brain recharge, boosting creativity, and aiding in consolidating the bombardment of target marketing and branded content you just scrolled past on the toilet, seeing what your 875 “friends” got up to in the last 45 minutes.

Let’s aim for more meaningless, directionless, utterly random downtime this summer. Let’s find a bit more nothingness – even two hours a week. There’s plenty of adventure in these hills, and every reason to go after it, but don’t be afraid to ditch the bike, boots or paddleboards for the occasional hammock, beach towel or lengthy Russian novel.

So let’s aim for more meaningless, directionless, utterly random downtime this summer. Let’s find a bit more nothingness – even two hours a week. There’s plenty of adventure in these hills, and every reason to go after it, but don’t be afraid to ditch the bike, boots or paddleboards for the occasional hammock, beach towel or lengthy Russian novel. Because just as the best adventures are usually found by accident, so are some of the best parts of your mind. When you set no goals, the brain opens up to the natural ebb and flow of things; and that might be where the magic is, or at the very least, a little mental salvation.

This summer, don’t seize the day at all. Free it… solvo diem!


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From the new issue of Mountain Life Coast Mountains, available now.

 

With the Summer 2016 issue of Mountain Life: Coast Mountains just hitting the streets here are a few highlights of what’s in store.  This issue is about finding solace and inspiration in a collection of stories and photographs that evoke the spirit of summer, of adventure, and of kicking back for a good read… Read more

Look for the issue at specialty retail, grocery stores, coffee shops and other fine establishments across the Lower Mainland and in the Sea-to-Sky corridor.

Or you can read it online here or download a digital edition.