Carpe Diem: Is It Possible to Seize the Day?

Is It Possible to Live for Today or at Least Stop Waiting For The Bus?


I’m trying to make sense of the phrase carpe diem. If I truly lived for today, I mean TRULY, then I probably wouldn’t go into my job today, would eat a bunch of ice-cream and fly to the beach, rack up a bunch of credit card debit, and so on. Simply put, I would be impulsive.

Doesn’t sound financially savvy. Doesn’t sound realistic. So, what exactly are we supposed to infer out of these types of phrases and sayings?  My interpretation, is that you can live for today as long as you are financially free. Even then, you will burn through your money if you aren’t responsible about it.

Hollywood’s version of Live for Today

Many movies do a great job of portraying the ‘live for today’ attitude, such as Queen Latifah in the Last Holiday, who changes her whole attitude on life once she is (incorrectly) diagnosed with a terminal illness. As romantic as it sounds, I truly don’t know how I would live my life differently if I knew I was dying. (We all are slowly, I know). Perhaps if there was a very limited timeframe around my life, say, 1 month or something, than I would be motivated to do something drastic. But maybe not, as the responsibilities of my life would stay with me. I wouldn’t want to disturb the comfort and peace that my daughter finds in her life’s routine.

Waiting for the Bus

I like to use the metaphor that someone shared with me of waiting for the bus. As humans, we are always making excuses and reasons why something will be different or change once something else happens in the future. “I’ll save money as soon as I get this new video game.” Or, “I’ll lose weight, as soon as I get through the holidays.” One of the easiest things to do is put off what we know deep down we need or want to do.

The best meaning that I can infer out of the phrase Carpe Diem is to stop waiting for the future, stop waiting for the bus to come and pick you up. If the bus isn’t coming, take a stand and find a way to get to your destination. If the bus isn’t coming, just stand up and start walking. Or to stop using a metaphor, if the changes that you want in your life aren’t happening, if you aren’t living the intentional life that you want to live, living for today is meant to be about just taking a step; small, big or in between, towards changing your life and spending your most precious asset, time, how you want to be spending it.

Here are Just a Few Popular Quotes on the Concept Carpe Diem

Dream as if you’ll live forever.  Live as if you’ll die today.  ~ James Dean
Pretty, but if I were to die today, I think I’d go out to dinner at the best restaurant in town and buy their best bottle of wine…

Life is not lost by dying; life is lost minute by minute, day by dragging day, in all the thousand small uncaring ways.  ~ Stephen Vincent Benét
I can’t help but feel sad by this quote… It rings true, though I don’t yet know how to make each moment in life truly intentional.

“Men for the sake of getting a living forget to live.”  ~ Margaret Fuller
Do we really forget, or do we simply make societally approved choices that make our lives to busy to truly enjoy life?

Fear not that life shall come to an end, but rather fear that it shall never have a beginning.  ~  John Henry Newman
How do you know when life has ‘begun’ for you? When you are happy? Financially free?


Question: Is it possible to live for today or Carpe Diem? Or is it unrealistic?


photo by the_tahoe_guy

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