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STOIC POETRY | Selecting the right picture frame

Updated: Sep 4, 2021

September 30, 2019

Dear Eric

Looking back now from the vantage point of three-decades, I can see that we both lived and portrayed lives which were rather stereotypical of young men caught up in the atmosphere and experience of academia. What other lives did we know then? What other way could we have possibly imagined? Our demonstrations of living at that time were certainly genuine, as it's no false charade when there's just a single mask to wear. Still, isn't the fact of the mask something of a charade?

Maturity beyond the teenage years brings opportunity to change and become the someone we might set out to be; or to become the someone we've settled for; or perhaps the someone we think others imagine for us. Our demonstration of success in this endeavor of becoming is made evident through our portrayal of life by arrangement of the artifacts we collect within the context and circumstance of our living. We decorate and adorn ourselves and our surroundings with outward messages of who we are, or who we want others to think we are. And we use these same messages to remind ourselves to be and become the person of either our settling or of our dreams. This is the life we live...and the life we portray.

The life we live Rather than, The life we portray

But it's easy to become so hung-up on the life we portray that this effort of display becomes our living more than the life we might actually live. This occurs when the impression we seek to make becomes more important to us that the life from which the impression should be but an artifact. Like a homeowner obsessed with their yard at the expense of the family within their home. Or a student aiming their energies so squarely at a prestigious degree that they fail to make broad use of their time at school. Or a senior citizen who curates the safety of their golden years at the expense of their last chance to live. Such endeavors are energies towards the impression of an end rather than the end itself; and while such work and focus may certainly contribute to the successful achievement of such desired results, their engagement alone should not become the end itself.


My name is Kurt Bell.

You can learn more about The Good Life in my book Going Alone.

Be safe... But not too safe.

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