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deliberate living

i remember reading Walden for the first time at 16. i remember feeling something deep inside of myself resonate with Thoreau’s words. i remember promising myself that i would ‘live deliberatelyat all costs. i do not remember the moment i forgot that promise. i remember watching Dead Poet’s Society frequently, trying to soak the ethos into my very core. i do not remember consciously resigning. i remember choosing to major in English at college and focus on writing, specifically because i believed it to be the tool to staying alive. i do not remember when i fell asleep.

but i did fall asleep. somewhere between tv shows, failures, 9-5 office jobs, disappointments, immigration, sleepless nights with my small children and fear, i drifted off. it took me 13 years to wake up. but i did wake up! i do not know how. what alarm was set? i cannot pinpoint the moment when it happened. in fact it feels like a slow awakening, like over a couple of months the sun rose, dawn came and my soul responded. whatever, whoever, however the reason, i am so thankful.

i am 29 years old. i am married. i have 2 children under 2. i am an american. i live in england. i believe in, and love God. i have started this blog because i still believe–as i did at 19–that writing is a great way to stay alive.

below are the original, inspiring excerpts from Walden that so moved me 13 years ago. i would love anyone else who is inspired by them to join me in the fight to stay awake.

The morning, which is the most memorable season of the day, is the awakening hour. It matters not what the clocks say or the attitudes and labors of men.  Morning is when I am awake and there is a dawn in me. To be awake is to be alive.

We must learn to reawaken and keep ourselves awake, not by mechanical aids, but by an infinite expectation of the dawn, which does not forsake us in our soundest sleep. To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts.  Every man is tasked to make his life, even in its details, worthy of the contemplation of his most elevated and critical hour.

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, when I came to die, discover that I
had not lived.

exciting times.




  1. Sarah, I got teary-eyed! (I admit I’m a bit emotional at the moment, what with the hormones, but still) I love these thoughts – Thoreau’s words are powerful – especially that last line – and I can see why they made such an impression on you. I have a copy of that book lying around somewhere that I’ve never gotten around to reading. I think I’ll start. Here’s to deliberate living.

  2. Oh, Sarah, this new blog of yours makes me so THOREAULY happy! I can’t wait to read all your beautiful words and imagine I’m living life w/ you in Bedford. Miss you loads, my friend!

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  4. Love this.

    One of my faves from Wordsworth:
    ” I WANDERED lonely as a cloud
    That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
    When all at once I saw a crowd,
    A host, of golden daffodils;
    Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
    Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

    Continuous as the stars that shine
    And twinkle on the milky way,
    They stretched in never-ending line
    Along the margin of a bay: 10
    Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
    Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

    The waves beside them danced; but they
    Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
    A poet could not but be gay,
    In such a jocund company:
    I gazed–and gazed–but little thought
    What wealth the show to me had brought:

    For oft, when on my couch I lie
    In vacant or in pensive mood, 20
    They flash upon that inward eye
    Which is the bliss of solitude;
    And then my heart with pleasure fills,
    And dances with the daffodils.

  5. John G

    Hey Sarah,

    This Blog has really made me think, this post inparticular.

    Out there in my wilderness years I lost a lot of myself, and I fell asleep, as you put it. And going through all that strife and struggle i still felt numb to everything. I think my new dawn is upon me and i should wake up and realise it doesn’t matter how long I was asleep, what matters more is that i wake up.

    You’re a bright beacon Mrs O, thanks xx

  6. aw john! thank you so much for your sweet comment. i hope you find your new day to be brighter and sunnier than the last. and always fight to stay awake! x0

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