Desiderata by Max Ehrmann is a 1927 prose poem. "Desiderata" (Latin: "desired things")
22. Be careful.
This original instruction in the prose poem was written Be cheerful. Along the way, it was changed to Be careful. I didn't know this until a few years ago. I had become accustomed to Be careful, so that's what I incorporated in my thinking and association with the Desiderata.
Be cheerful is positive advice; however, Be careful is portentous. Now, knowing that the option exists, I still choose Be careful as a closing instruction for my commentary. I decided that my Being cheerful will come as the result of my Being careful.
Max Ehrmann had his reasons for choosing Be cheerful to close his prose poem. As stated earlier, he wrote the Desiderata for himself so it stands to reason that Be cheerful was a personal, direct instruction. He may have been speaking to his own state of mind at the time.
Replacing Be cheerful with Be careful perhaps emanated from some other individual's cautious state of mind at the time; maybe it seemed a more logical closing; or, maybe Be cheerful sounded redundant.
I choose to Be careful; you might prefer to Be cheerful. It's up to us to decide how the Desiderata can be the inspirational guide to our choices – our desired things.
We are complicated, quirky, deep, multi dimensional human beings. So let's Be careful; and let's Be cheerful doing it.
Thank you for reading. What are your thoughts?
Dedicated to my sons Jibri and Chris, my privilege and blessing. EcwmB