“The ideal life, the life of completion, haunts us all; we feel the thing we ought to be beating beneath the thing we are. We are haunted by an ideal life, and it is because we have within us the beginning and the possibility of it” – Phillips Brooks
It sneaks up on you now and then, this feeling. It’s a nagging call for action, Thoreau described it as quiet desperation, a feeling that you’re living below your dreams and see no path to reach them. But he would also remind us that it’s okay to build these castles in the air, just build the foundations underneath them.
What do we make of ourselves when we know what we ought to be?
How we reconcile this in our own lives is how we determine for ourselves whether we lived a successful life on our deathbed. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. When you pause in a quiet moment in the day and reflect on where you are and where you’re going, do you like the answer?
The haunting is a call to action.