“If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer.” – Henry David Thoreau, Walden.
I hated reading Walden for my senior American Lit Seminar class.
Some of that might be because I kept falling asleep while reading the selected chapters . And others is because if I were an editor, there were a lot of sections I would have entirely cut for how useless they seemed. But I’m also wondering if I didn’t read the right sections at the right time, or because I was reading it for school my amount of analysis of the book was purely academic.
While writing my final essay for that class, I had to connect three or four of the novels together under one theme. For whatever reason I picked Walden, a strange decision given my strong feelings about the book. As I flipped through it looking for the quotes I needed, I found the quote I used at the start of the post.
I reread it several times and highlighted it.
My high school classmates are married, and some with children. I’m finishing up the Fall semester of my senior year of college. As I write this I’m procrastinating on a ten-page paper (my last final), and completing four more grad school app essays.
Life has taken me in many different directions, all off the beaten path. And I don’t regret it. The drum beat of my life has driven me to pursue my passion and given me opportunities I only dreamed of in high school.
For what its worth, keeping pace with others is a lose-lose situation. You’ll feel like you’re always behind, and that life is unfair. And that can damage your relationships with others because you might feel jaded. Comparing myself to my friends was more detrimental than it was encouraging.
Figuring out what I needed to be happy was all it took for me to be more complacent with what I have and what I’m doing. Listening to the rhythm of my own path was the smartest decision I’ve ever made.