On the Shortness of Life

Lucius Annaeus Seneca, De Brevitate Vitae, 49 AD

Sometimes even to live is an act of courage.

Seneca

Lucius Annaeus Seneca is one of the greatest stoic philosophers of all time. He was a wealthy man, materially, and could wish for anything. Still, he maintained a simple way of living. He knew what life truly represented and how to manage his time to spend it well.

According to this, Seneca wrote an excellent set of dialogues that should be on your book priorities list if it hasn’t been already.

We often forget how precious life is and spend a lot of time and energy on less important things. Thus we forget living in the moment, cherishing each one of them as if it is our last.

Take the first step by listening to your breath and then slowly indulge yourself in the Seneca’s dialogues, making your moments genuinely worthwhile.

I’ll conclude with Seneca’s words:

It is not that we have so little time but that we lose so much. Life is long enough, and it’s been given to us in a generous measure for accomplishing the greatest things if the whole of it is well invested. But when life is squandered through soft and careless living, and when it’s spent on no worthwhile pursuit, death finally presses and we realize that the life which we didn’t notice a passing has passed away. So it is: the life we are given isn’t short but we make it so; we’re not ill provided but we are wasteful of life. Just as impressive and princely wealth is squandered in an instant when it passes into the hands of a poor manager, but wealth however modest grows through careful deployment if it is entrusted to a responsible guardian just so our lifetime offers ample scope to the person who maps it out well.

The person who devotes every second of his time to his own needs and who organizes each day as if it were a complete life neither longs for nor is afraid of the next day. For what new kind of pleasure is there that any hour can now bring? Everything has been experienced, everything enjoyed to the full. For the rest, fortune may make arrangements as it wishes; his life has already reached safety. Addition can be made to this life, but nothing taken away from it-and addition made in the way that a man who is already satisfied and full takes a portion of food which he doesn’t crave and yet has room for.

Featured image: Lo sbuffo

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