Seneca and The Shortness of Life
For the moments where anxiety creeps up, it‘s healthy to read the thoughts of wise men. We are all second-handed people and although no two people are identical, similar thoughts and fears have all be sorted through before. Where does anxiety nest and what is the reason for the dread it brings? We like to ridicule self-proclaimed seers and mystics, yet many of us attempt to play this role among ourselves.
Modern society breeds this illusion that satisfaction with oneself is achieved through certain milestones and achievements. If we‘re disciplined enough, and we squander enough, eventually that day will come when all the pieces of the puzzle will fall together and we can enjoy the fruits of our labour. And that‘s the promise. So we set aside a portion of income into a retirement fund. We forego the expensive travelling plans so we can have that bigger house in a few years. We put in the extra hours at work in hopes of receiving that new position, which in turn places us further and further in time debt. We toil away, all the while fixated on that promise that our future self, the one with the accolades and material wealth will be the one that saves us from our perpetual angst. Except it‘s a lie. Satisfaction from a fixed goal is fleeting as life is never about a destination but moreso about the journey. Understanding that life is short and the promise of a future is not a promise at all is something very powerful to ground your perspective on how to live it.