Home > General, Self > What now, oldest daughter?

What now, oldest daughter?


I am a lineswoman.  For those of you who know me personally, no worries. I’m not talking sports. I’m referring to quotes.

Lines I have read or heard often come to me when I’m out walking early in the morning.

Don’t you want to be alive before you die?”

The question repeats itself as I walk. I’d read it a few days before in Anthony Doerr’s gripping new novel, All the Light We Cannot See.  It’s asked by an older woman who is challenging  her friends  to take potentially dangerous actions against the Nazis occupying their small coastal town.  We don’t know very much about the woman,  except that she’s in charge of a bakery.  We witness the courage and leadership required to take the action she proposes and then the impact on her friends, the community and the novel’s young protagonist.

Though thankfully no comparable dilemma confronts me, the French woman’s question takes on talons and sticks in my brain.  I find myself asking,  “What does it mean to be, to feel “alive”?

Maybe it means taking a look at my bucket list. Maybe it means evaluating if I need to become involved in issues affecting my life.  For sure, it means cutting any coasting and recognizing that what I  do with my time matters.

“Are you having any fun?”  

Ironic question to pop into my head as I hit the hardest, mostly uphill part of my morning walk.  This quote comes compliments of the movie Quartet, which my husband and I had watched again a few nights ago.  It replays, complete with melody, as I head up the first semi-steep incline that lies between me and home.  Am I having any fun?  Such an important question.  Even now as I do my self-imposed exercise, begin to pant and at the same time hear the chirps of the nearby prairie dogs, I recognize that “fun”  includes things which give me satisfaction, make me feel good about myself and what I’m doing.

That’s when as I round the last uphill curve, the final quote comes to mind, one penned more than a century ago by American philosopher and psychologist William James.  A copy of it was push-pinned into the corner of my office cork board for years: “Seek out that which makes you feel most deeply and vitally alive…the inner voice which says, ‘This is the real you.’”









  1. cbarnickel@kc.rr.com
    June 30, 2014 at 5:42 pm

    I’m so glad you are finally tuning into and listening to and recognizing that wonderful person call “YOU”.

  2. Nora Richard
    June 30, 2014 at 5:58 pm

    Oh Pat, this is a wonderful post. Very thought provoking and I will use it for my meditation Thanks

  3. bbartocci
    June 30, 2014 at 11:01 pm

    Great comments, my dear friend! Good for you–you’re going great with your blog. BB

  4. July 1, 2014 at 2:22 am

    Liked your blog, but couldn’t get my comment to post.

    • Pat Schudy
      July 1, 2014 at 3:54 am

      Try again. It’s a process. You won’t see the comment immediately.

  5. Janelle Lazzo
    July 2, 2014 at 5:51 pm

    I like this very much and can relate right now. Having just retired, I find it exciting to wonder what each new day will bring. And it has so far brought people and ideas that surprise and please me. In preparation for an op ed piece I have agreed to write about Sister Simone Campbell, a Sister of Social Service who is executive director of NETWORK, the
    Catholic social justice lobby, I am reading her book , A Nun on the Bus. Sister Simone, who has found herself in the middle of political controversy as one involved in helping craft and continuing to support the Affordable Health Care Act, and then been startled to learn that last year, in its indictment of the Leaders of Catholic Women Religious in the U. S. as “radical feminists” the Vatican singled out the nuns at NETWORK as symbolic of the “trouble.” Sister Simone’s daily response to life is to “walk willing” and let the Spirit work in her and through her. I am “walking willing”, too

  6. Noreen Purcell
    July 7, 2014 at 5:05 pm

    I enjoyed your quotes,especially the last one. Great food for thought! Thanks!

  7. August 11, 2014 at 2:32 am


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