“The architect replies that if the boat were sinking, and there was only room in the lifeboat for one person, he would gladly give up his life for the newspaper tycoon. And then he says something like this… ‘I would die for you. But I won’t live for you.’ […] I think the idea is that every person has to live for his or her own life and then make the choice to share it with other people.” –Perks of Being a Wallflower
I literally waited until my 24th year of life to read this book. I couldn’t put it down and finished it in a couple hours one Saturday.
I especially like this quote (I took a picture of it with my phone to reference it now) because I think it sums up how we view our lives in relation to others so perfectly, at least through my prism.
If a boat were sinking, and you gave up your seat in the lifeboat for someone else, you are remaining yourself, in a sinking ship, so they can live their life, essentially. Right? And living for them – getting in the lifeboat where they would have sat and living in their place – is the exact opposite.
A lot of the times, this is how we try to live out our daily lives—through someone else’s seat in the lifeboat.
Let me explain: with all the lifestyle blogs and messages out there, are they encouraging you to live your own life? Or to try to live life sitting in someone else’s seat in a lifeboat? I think the main character in Perks is making quite the astute observation about humanity as a whole: every person needs to live his/her own life and then make the choice to share it with others.
I do this through my writing – even though up until just recently (like yesterday pretty much), I was trying to live out other people’s lives that I saw around me. It’s hard to watch other’s successes in light of my failures. But you know what I realized? My failures were just the natural reconfiguring pains of trying to fit myself into someone else’s life mold, and failing because (surprise) I’m not them and their life track is not my life track.
So then, sharing it with others: I write here because these thoughts I sometimes don’t even realize until my fingers are hitting the keys. I used to keep these things bottled up inside and hope they go away, but really they end up exploding like a crazed cat dropped into a bowl of pancake mix. It’s not pretty.
The best thing I could think of is being, truly, myself in my writing. And then sharing it with people around me. There is nothing better than being able to be myself, with the possibility of helping someone else have a realization and change for the better in the midst of that.
Now, everyone keeps the pancake mix in the bowl, cooking up some delicious fluffy, little mattresses of batter and heat, cat free.