and the one I picked up today was a book that has Thoreau's classics "Walden" and "Civil Disobedience". I read both of these years ago during my studies as an English major in college. I remember feeling a kinship with Thoreau back then, and just reading through the introduction of the book helped me remember why I love his writing so much.
The editor stated that Thoreau and many of the Transcendentalists "discussed, wrote, and lived their ideas instead of inventing machines, initiating commercial enterprises, or introducing legislation." I'm not at the stage of my life where I could be inventing machines, initiating commercial enterprises, or introducing legislation, and I'm not sure that I want to, or if I will ever be at that stage. However, I can discuss, write and LIVE my ideas. I love the "live" part of that sentence. It isn't enough to just talk about my ideas or blog about them or make lists or dream about what I want to happen. I have to act on my ideas and make them part of the way that I live.
The editor also says "from the point of view of many people in Concord, he was underemployed. While he objected to her superfluities, they depored what appeared to be a life of irresolution. In 1845, at thage of twenty-eight, he had after all done little for a graduate of Harvad College. Why was he not a clergyman, a lawyer, a farmer, a businessman, or at least a teacher?" Now, I'm not 28, or a graduate of Harvard, and I doubt that many of my neighbors are wondering why I'm not doing more with my degrees. But I wonder sometimes and feel somewhat guilty about it. I have a bachelor's degree in English and a master's degree in Technology (with certificates in Training and Development & Project Management.) Why am I staying at home with my children, teaching preschool two days a week, and babysitting two children full-time? Is that really a good use of my degrees? My graduate advisor would probably say no as would owners of my student loans.
But for right now, being a mom and preschool teacher and daycare provider feels like the right thing to be doing with my time, and I'm sure that Thoreau felt that going out to a cabin by a pond was the right thing for him to do, and after reading "Walden", I'd have to agree with him. So maybe at the end of my life, I'll be able to say "I did the right thing" too.