29 December 2009


Latin for "seize the day". An article in today's NYTimes online reports that in the context of pursuing personal pleasure, recent studies reveal most people to be self-defeating. The Latin motto is usually associated with professional or personal achievement. But when it comes to being good to ourselves, we are often pathologically procratinators. I know I am. When I think of all the beautiful natural areas and historic places within a few hours' drive of where I live, it is embarassing to say that I've never been, never seen.

It was not always thus. In my youth, I was more spontaneous. Living in Tucson, I was often astonished to meet native Arizonans who had never been to that grandest of spectacles, guarantees to take your breath away, the Grand Canyon. It's true no matter where you live. A Philadelphia native might think, "The Franklin Institute? the Museum of Art? Hawk Mountain? Cape May? They'll always be there, I'll go next year, or .... sometime." How many Alaskans have never seen Mt. Denali, the tallest mountain in North America? How many Floridians have never ventured down to Key West? Or Massachussetts residents to Provincetown?

Destinations aside, think of more accessible sources of joy -- a book reading club, an adult class in birding (or insert your preferred avocation), a fine bottle of wine, an extravagent meal out, learning to kayak or play chess, getting involved in local theater. As adults, we are so-o-o-o responsible, often to the point of self-neglect. We all deserve kindness and loving attention, most especially from ourselves, every single day of our lives.


  1. Here is what is worse. How many native New Yorkers have seen the Milky Way? The only chance most of them had was when that tree touched a power line in Ohio, leading to the latest power blackout. Even then, how many actually looked up and saw anything?

  2. I'm with you on this. Growing up under the pristine night skies of northern Montana in the mid-1900s was a unique privilege when it comes to night skies. Billions and billions ...