Thursday, September 30, 2004

Living Large

I'm not sure why I keep responding in semi-inflammatory ways to innocuous quotes like this almost-inspiring thought for the day. The author was saying that we should be trying to live "big lives", as opposed to "small lives", which is fine, I guess, but it seemed to be implying that anything other than fame and fortune and taking big risks constitutes an inferior existence. I tended to agree with one of the other respondents:
"Finding fullness in each day is another way to address what I think Marcia is saying. The passionate nonsense that the ad-woman lays out can be real and true as far as it goes, but it has a ‘sound and fury’ ring to it... a me generation focus. There are six billion of us. Many of us will never live large, but each of us can make a happy life for ourselves, our families, our friends, our communities, simply by adding our loving expression to the mix."
This ties into a comment from a good friend the other day. We were talking about our various quasi-midlife crises and he said that he wants desparately to live a life of consequence. It's a powerful statement. At first I took it in the same way as the "live large" quote, but then he clarified it and I realized that he was talking more about being truly engaged in his actual life, not aspiring to some externally judged measure of greatness.

This talk of big and small lives also reminded me of a smart post I had read about creating a life that is a manageable size. He quotes an actress talking about her life:
"'I'm never going to be a star,' she says, 'but it's nice to be pushing 60 with more to do than I've ever had before. And my life is a manageable size. So if someone gets sick or someone gets happy or a baby is born, I can be there.'"

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