The Essential Facts of Life

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life.” -Thoreau


The essential facts of life are so simple. Painfully simple. We can hardly stand to confront them.

It is easier to add noise and diversions than to come to terms with these facts. It’s more comfortable to be distracted than content. 

And if there are only a handful of essential things, they better good. Damn good. There is no time for fast food.  

I have no idea why it is easier to amass quantities of the non-essential rather than to work on making the essential things better. Collections instead of contentment. How our norms got so out of whack I have no idea.  If there is one thing I have learned in the last few years – and especially in the last three months on the road – it’s that having less causes you to feel more. There is no hiding behind “fine” or “busy.” It’s wonderful.  And awful. And scary. 

In the woods you face the facts head on. You have to “feel what you are feeling“. Best advice I’ve ever received. It’s so much easier to respond or shut down or find a distraction or do absolutely anything than to just feel what you’re feeling. To just own it. No planning the next move, just own it. It’s impossibly hard and incredibly rewarding. What no one tells you is that the essential facts of life are equally amazing and overwhelming. Life experiences grow longer as the days in front of you grow shorter. Hard work causes satisfaction and exhaustion in equal parts. The good things cause joy when they are near and sadness when they’re away.  You love them like crazy when they’re around and miss them like crazy when they aren’t. And that’s ok too. 

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