Desiderata

Is it ironic that I was writing out the words of “Desiderata” (“Go placidly amid the noise and haste, / and remember what peace there may be in silence”) while watching the fourth quarter of the NCAA finals? I’m pretty sure the stress I incur while watching close sports games (this seems to happen whether or not I’m invested in either of the teams) doesn’t count as “going placidly” but, here we are.

I grew up taking the “Desiderata” for granted. A framed version of the poem sat opposite the toilet in the bathroom of my aunt and uncle’s house in England and so, over the course of many childhood visits to their home, I memorized it (it was sort of hard not to read it when patiently waiting on “the loo”). I didn’t realize how much I appreciated its words and sentiment until later, but perhaps I discovered it at exactly the right time.

As I reread its words tonight I heard the cynical voice of adulthood whispering, “This poem is silly. It’s optimistic and hippy-ish and – frankly – bullshit.” And yet- another voice, the one of innocence and optimism and hope: “Who cares? If certain words or ideas inspire you, let them. Don’t let the pain and cynicism you’ve incurred since you were a young child, sitting on the toilet and minding your own business and seeing the best in the world, silence your soul.”

Anyway- I just ran out of the veggie chips I’ve been snacking on, so this internal philosophical debate is being put on hold for the foreseeable future (meaning I’ll resume it later tonight when I’m lying in bed awake and full of anxiety).

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