“The cup of life’s for him that drinks
And not for him that sips.”
– Robert Louis Stevenson, Away With Funeral Music
I read through several poems this morning, finding them all falling flat for me. Same with the books I’m reading. I know I have a few stand-byes I can call up, but I resist the urge to tap into Henry and Mary and Hafiz this morning. I welcome them all, but today I want to explore new places. And then Robert Louis Stevenson tapped on my shoulder. Here was a fascinating guy; Scottish (good start), prolific writer and adventurous soul who suffered from respiratory issues but pushed through them anyway to travel the world. Look at a picture of Stevenson towards the end of his life, while he was living in Samoa, and you see a twinkle in his eyes. This was a guy who was drinking from the cup of life right to his abrupt departure at the age of 44.
So what of us? Why take little sips when you don’t know which will be your last. Drink with gusto, maybe with a little dribbling out the corner of your mouth. Get out there when the world opens up and experience all that’s available to us. I’m not talking about debauchery here, but living larger. Doing more with the time you have. Now.
“Good is the enemy of great. And that is one of the key reasons why we have so little that becomes great. We don’t have great schools, principally because we have good schools. We don’t have great government, principally because we have good government. Few people attain great lives, in large part because it is just so easy to settle for a good life.” – Jim Collins, Good To Great
It’s so easy to settle for a good life… because it’s pretty good. But Stevenson had a good life in Edinburgh too, and he still got up and got out there to see the world. And to write timeless work. And live with a twinkle in his eye right to the end. So drink up. We’ve got work to do.