I've too often found myself stewing in recriminations and regrets about what I have or haven't done in my life--and when you get to that "certain age" (64), the opportunities to do so are frequent and persistent..
In saner moments, it's easy to see that all regret and recrimination is a result of judgements and conclusions that form into an overall point of view: "My life is nothing like I expected it to be", or "You'd think by now I'd have some things figured out", or "All this time has gone by and I still don't know shit." And then you consider all the time you've spent mulling over these apparent malfeasences and it adds more gasoline to the fire of self-condemnation.
In his quote, Emerson makes it all about choice. CHOOSE to forget those "blunders and absurdities"; CHOOSE to begin anew; and CHOOSE to begin it "serenely and with too high spirit to be encumbered by your old nonsense".
As Janet pointed out to me the other day in one of our marathon sessions, "What are you getting out of these judgements you're making about yourself? What is the reward?" Ouch. Does it actually feel good to wallow in self-pity? Well, if I was going to be completely honest, yes, there is a certain resignation and soft numbing not unlike falling asleep--and that does feel good. It's a sort of endorphin release of the abdication of responsibility combined with the cuddly softness of not giving a damn. It's a sort of soft rebellion of choosing not to care, choosing not to take action. It can be addicting, and I suspect it is what can lead a person into clinical depression.
It's not that there is anything wrong with this syndrome--it's just something to choose against, really. The soft heaviness and comfortable apathy is the vehicle carrying us toward death. It shows up in the body as a sapping of energy, a need to lie down, a compulsion to tune out everything that is not that--a path to oblivion.
Oddly, I've noticed I can jump out of this vehicle's gravitational pull by asking the simple question, "What would it take to finally have joy and ease in my life?" And after a time, the photons return to energize the DNA, and lo and behold there is light at the end of the tunnel.
The thing is, Life really doesn't care whether you personally live or die, since through living it expresses itself through you, and in death, simply uses the vacated quantum waves, molecules and cells to joyfully re-animate into new forms of life. So the choice to live or die is yours alone to make.
Vital and energetic joy and ease are what life uses to be more of itself. And when we are "full of life" there is automatically joy and ease in our lives.