I’m surprised by how few people I’ve seen reference Henry David Thoreau during the quarantine of COVID-19. For the unfamiliar, Thoreau spent a few years intentionally quarantined to get more in touch with himself and nature while removing himself from the busyness of the normal world.
In his words:
“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately and see if I could learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”
Well, ready or not we’re all living some version of Thoreau’s life. We may not all be tucked away in a Massachusetts cabin, but we’re mostly locked in our current living places for the foreseeable future.
The question is, how do you want to spend the time?
Robert Greene calls this conundrum “alive time or dead time”.
Dead time may sound familiar to you. It’s bingeing Tiger King on Netflix on Monday, only to repeat the habit with Ozark on Tuesday, Ray Donovan on Wednesday, and continue the trend every night until you leave an indent in the couch.
Alive time is different. Alive time is intentionally spending time reading a book, taking a course or learning a language. It’s spending your evenings running on a trail or opening up that sketchpad that’s been in your office forever.
Put simply, it’s doing something to better yourself.
We didn’t choose the quarantine life but we do get to choose how we respond to it.
Choose to live intentionally.