Drive-by Shootings at Henry David Thoreau's Walden Pond

Drive-by Shootings at Henry David Thoreau's Walden Pond

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In Walden, Henry David Thoreau said, "I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, then I came to die, discover that I had not live." Perhaps the last part of that statement is the most difficult aspect of our lives. A plethora of philosophers and everyday people alike have maintained that you should live your life as if it were your last day. Few, however, have been able to adopt that philosophy. In the '90's the future has become a key player in our lives. Education has been geared towards planning out our future and has almost forgotten that right now, we are here. In eighth grade, we were encouraged to plan out our high school classes. Our sophomore year weaved in a career unit, and this year we look at colleges. Some teachers teach a certain way only because they want to prepare us for college, not because they think that their way is the best. Why do we do all of this for a future that might not come?

In a decade where drive-by shootings, drug overdoses, and alcohol-related accidents have become the norm, the way we look at the future may come as somewhat of a surprise to the objective observer. The future is presented in a way that assumes we will have a future, when, in fact, some of us may not have all that long to live in the present. We spend so much time planning for tomorrow, or even five or six years from tomorrow, that many of us forget that we are living today and that we should live out today. If a person tries to live out tomorrow right now and that person is on his death bed a few minutes later, then that one person may find that he has squandered his life preparing for the future.

Aside from over planning, many of us do not think about enjoying the life we have. For example, for years many of us have had ample food to eat, yet we still rush through a meal as if a wild animal was going to snatch it away from us. We haven't taken the time to enjoy our meals and the usual conversation that accompanies them.

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Our daily routines are also missed when they are gone. A student who has just gone to college may miss the fact that when he is at home, he can go downstairs and have a snack to eat. Since he is in college, he will have to go a lot further than downstairs to find a snack, and he will have to pay for it. Right now we may be bored with our routines, but when our routine is altered, we still miss it. All of this is about cherishing everything we have that accompanies our lives.

American society is looking a little bit too hard at that elusive future of ours. Given all of the bad things that can happen, you would think that we would be more aware of the fact that we might not experience a future. All of us forget to think about what we have right now or what we had at one time. We are all at least a little guilty of living our future and not our present. We have to make sure that we live our lives, not plan them. And, as Joe Walsh put it, "Wait 'till tomorrow. Think of today. Think of the days gone by."
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