On the Shortness of Life

Dark pine tree forest


Do you feel stressed? Are you always on the run? Do you think there's never enough hours in the day? If yes - know you’re not alone. We’ve all been there. I once asked a fried how she was, and she said: ”Coping”. We’re coping. We’re coping, and mistaking doing for being. We’re dwelling in the past, or making plans for the future - forgetting the present.


Peony in Black and White


If you think this is a product of modern civilization, think again. Human nature is human nature. Not much has changed in the past two thousands years. We may live more comfortably than cave men, but we’re all the same.


IMG 3263 - Version 2 Snapseed


It is not that we have a short time to live, but that we waste a lof of it. Life is long enough, and a sufficiently generous amount has been given to us for the highest achievements if it were all well invested. But when it is wasted in heedless luxury and spent on no good activity, we are forced at last by death’s final constraint to realize that it has passed away before we knew it was passing. So it is: we are not given a short life but we make it short, and we are not-supplied but wasteful of it … Life is long if you know how to use it.


Do you know who wrote that? Seneca, the Roman philosopher in his two thousands-year old ”On the Shortness of Life”.


Church Ruin


He continues:


Nobody works out the value of time: men use it lavishly as if it costs nothing … We have to be more careful in presenning what will cease at an unknown point.


(…)


No one will bring back the years; no one will restore you to yourself. Life will follow the path it began to take, and will neither reverse nor check its course. It will cause no commotion to remind you of its swiftness, but glide on quitely. It will not lenghten itself for a king’s command or a people’s favor. As is started out on its first day, so it will run on, nowhere pausing or turning aside. What will be the outcome? You have been preoccupied while life hastens on. Meanwhile death will arrive, and you have no choice in making yourself available for that.


(…)


Putting things off is the biggest waste of life: it snatches away each day as it comes, and denies us the present by promising the future. The greatest obstacle to living is expectancy, which hangs upon tomorrow and loses today. You are arranging what lies in Fortune’s control, and abandoning what lies in yours. What are you looking at? To what goal are you straining? The whole future lies in uncertainty: live immediately.


So - what are you waiting for? Go chase your dreams, and do whatever you have put off for years, waiting for the right time, right place, enough money, enough time … go live your dream now!



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