“Beware the Ides of March!”
This was a soothsayer’s warning to Julius Caesar before his assassination by members of the Roman Senate on March 15, 44 B.C. Although the term “Ides” merely refers to the date of the event – not what happened – it is a reminder of the dark side of humanity and a significant date in history.
Ironically, two days later on March 17, people joyfully celebrate the death of St. Patrick – the Patron Saint of Ireland. A few days after that, on the 20th, the world welcomes the birth of spring with the vernal equinox. And, for college basketball fans, this is the month of March Madness!
The juxtaposition of these events suggests a balance of positive and negative energy. Intriguingly, the month of March seems to encapsulate the cycle of life: birth, life, and death. Notably, the first domain name, symbolics.com, was born (registered) on March 15 in 1985 — and given my involvement with the Internet, this is especially interesting. On a more directly personal level, March has always held a unique place in my life; consider the following:
- Except for leap years my birthday is one week before March 1st.
- I became an initiated member of Theta Chi Fraternity on March 4th.
- My original due date and the Boston Massacre were both on March 5th.
- The DMV first granted me my California Driver’s License on March 6th.
- I finished my first book, “edX E-Learning Course Development” on March 10th.
- I took my last undergraduate final at UC Santa Barbara on March 20th.
- My Mom was born on March 26 — the same day as Joseph Campbell.
One of my most meaningful March memories was that day in March when I finished my last college final. After finishing the test, I gathered in the hall with a classmate for whom the exam was also her last. We improvised a celebration with a small bottle of champagne she mysteriously had with her and an over-sized brownie I had purchased before the final. We talked, laughed, and wondered what opportunities and obstacles our futures held.
Looking back on that moment within the context of the themes discussed in this post, I realize that while you can’t always expect to succeed in life, if you work diligently towards a clearly defined goal, you are more likely to make progress. Of course, the great paradox of life is that, the achievements for which we are entitled to claim responsibility are rarely those to which we had originally committed ourselves.
Nevertheless, you need to remain open to whatever opportunities the universe avails you of. Without question, you never know where something could lead. So take a leap of faith on occasion and reach for the stars. Isn’t it better to have tried and failed – knowing you made an attempt – than to regret never having tried and not knowing what might have happened?