I read Robert Herrick’s poem “To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time” every day in an attempt to fully grasp and appreciate the value of time and opportunity. I will stop reading when I’ve finally seized the day.
Two months and seven days after the start of my project, I seized the day on the day I celebrated my father’s birthday.
Some of the lessons I learned are:
* Don’t be a slave to fear
* Be responsible and considerate
* Seizing the day doesn’t always mean doing crazy things
* Think for yourself
* There is no shame in trying
In the beginning, it was my hope that through this project I would learn to appreciate the value of time and therefore find the courage to live a happier or more fulfilling life. But I realise this poem is not about appreciating time but rather about appreciating the gifts we might have in life. Such as family, friends, health, art, food, clothing and a home. And that the more things we take for granted, the less value and beauty we welcome into our lives.
It would be difficult for me to tell someone who has experienced great hardship that life is beautiful. But speaking for myself, I have at this point lived a very privileged and comfortable life. And it would be unappreciative of me to not be smiling more, taking more opportunities, and showing through my actions how thankful I am for everything.
To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time
by Robert Herrick, 1591 – 1674
Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old Time is still a-flying;
And this same flower that smiles today
Tomorrow will be dying.
The glorious lamp of heaven, the sun,
The higher he’s a-getting,
The sooner will his race be run,
And nearer he’s to setting.
That age is best which is the first,
When youth and blood are warmer;
But being spent, the worse, and worst
Times still succeed the former.
Then be not coy, but use your time,
And while ye may, go marry;
For having lost but once your prime,
You may forever tarry.