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I Overcame a Life of Quiet Desperation

Joined: 8/20/2010
Posts: 168

In his novel entitled Walden, Henry David Thoreau stated that, “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.”

After initially hearing this quote, I wondered about the meaning of “quiet desperation.” To understand the implication of Thoreau’s words, one must comprehend the basis of Walden. Walden chronicles Thoreau’s ideas and thoughts regarding independence and self discovery all the while leading a simple life surrounded by nature. Consequently, “quiet desperation” entails silent hopelessness. It is the human condition that compels one to acquiesce to despair. Living with “quiet desperation” is equivalent to merely existing with a sense of overwhelming regret ingrained in the mind’s storeroom where passions and dreams gradually vanish.

With Thoreau’s statement in mind, I observed the petty existence I led. I gawked dumbly at the television screen for hours, entranced by the glowing screen and animated characters. I lounged around on my backside all day, clicking random website links or checking my Facebook page and wondering what else I should do. Worst of all, I remained passive when it came to my dreams. I imagined myself writing great pieces worthy of publication, but I never actually came around to actually producing any written work. Though difficult to admit, I was a failure.

Instead of pitying myself and my wasted life, I decided to live fully and deliberately. I no longer wanted to squander away my life hoping for a better day, for an ideal opportunity to rise to the occasion. As a result, I seized initiative and rose with the occasion.

I used the television to broaden my mind and perspective as I became well acquainted with local and global issues. Likewise, the internet transformed literally into “the world at my fingertips” as I established connections with people from diverse nations.

With these tools, I learned to develop tolerance and understanding for various cultures – an important means that will help me with my goals later in life. Futhermore, though social networking sites facilitate social interactions, it is also important to sometimes remove oneself from Facebook and actually get into someone's face! (Real life interaction is unmatched by virtual.) On occasion, I shut down all my technological devices so I can take a stroll or bike ride along the coast or at the park. Sometimes I am surprised by the calming effects of simply appreciating the beauty of the natural world.

As with my writing aspirations, I integrated the act of writing into my everyday routine. Whenever I had a shortage of story ideas, I simply recorded my thoughts and feelings in the form of free associations. I expressed myself through blogging websites, notebooks, and word processing documents. I eliminated distractions to focus on developing my literary voice and style. Today, I continue to strive to become both a better writer and human being.

As a result, I do not accept a life of “quiet desperation.” I am breaking free and becoming someone who I’ve always wanted to be.

World, are you ready? Because I certainly am.
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Comment by mcoly618

Joined: 5/2/2009
Posts: 472
Hi, I'm the PR Coordinator for Stage of Life. I'm leaving you this comment to let you know that your essay for our Teens and Overcoming Challenges writing contest was one of the finalists. Congratulations!

Here's the link to the contest summary page. We'll be formally announcing the winner soon.

Feel free to share this news with your friends and family. To be named an essay finalists in our national writing competition is a big deal. Our previous winners have been talked about on and other media outlets.

Congrats again. We look forward to seeing more of your essays/writing on Thanks for helping us in our mission of creating the world's largest pool of cross-generational stories.
Posted: Monday, June 6, 2011 7:02:13 PM
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Comment by sullysolipsism

Joined: 11/3/2010
Posts: 206
As always, I love your writing. :) This reminds me a little of Muriel Barberry's Elegance of the Hedgehog. Great job!
Posted: Wednesday, June 8, 2011 8:31:14 PM
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Comment by riserthinking

Joined: 5/14/2011
Posts: 53
The title of this post really grabbed my attention. Yesterday I was just thinking about everything you said. You nicely articulated all the ideas. AWESOME JOB!!
Posted: Friday, November 11, 2011 9:03:23 PM
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Comment by Guest

Joined: 10/30/2008
Posts: 2,760
I bow down humbly in the prescene of such greatness.
Posted: Monday, January 2, 2012 1:38:02 AM
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