Wealth is the ability to fully experience life.
Henry David Thoreau
This week seemed to crawl on forever, with the work days stretching on as if they would never end. When my friends and I ended our zoom call last Sunday, we wished each other a good week, one that was peaceful and drama-free. Fat chance of that! As it turns out, our weeks resulted in the complete opposite, but I suppose that is what life is all about, embracing the unexpected.
The twist to ending this week is that we also end the month. What?! End of July already? It also means that I have officially been in Portugal for five months as well. Geez, I feel so at home in this country that it seems as though I’ve been so much longer. No regrets. No surrender.
So when I sat on the bench at the train station this morning, the universe spoke to me by way of even gustier winds than yesterday. Oh yes, change is coming, and in a big way, I simply have to coast along as the events unfold in their own time. Life, if you let it, is never boring and once you learn to find joy in the small details and simple pleasures, is also full of surprises around every corner. As Mr. Thoreau points out, wealth is the ability to fully experience life, and this includes all the twists and turns, the details and grand gestures.
I close this week and month with a poem that has been a part of my life since Middle School, and I have quoted often enough over the years.
The Psalm of Life
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
Tell me not, in mournful numbers,
Life is but an empty dream
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
And things are not what they seem.
Life is real! Life is earnest!
And the grave is not its goal;
Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
Was not spoken of the soul.
Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
Is our destined end or way;
But to act, that each to-morrow
Find us farther than to-day.
Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
And our hearts, though stout and brave,
Still, like muffled drums, are beating
Funeral marches to the grave
In the world’s broad field of battle,
In the bivouac of Life,
Be not like dumb, driven cattle!
Be a hero in the strife!
Trust no Future, howe’er pleasant!
Let the dead Past bury its dead!
Act,— act in the living Present!
Heart within, and God o’erhead
Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time;
Footprints, that perhaps another,
Sailing o’er life’s solemn main
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing, shall take heart again
Let us, then, be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labor and to wait.