“It’s not that we have a short time to live, but that we waste a lot of it.”
-Lucius Annaeus Seneca
When I was a child I would complain to my mom when things didn’t go my way or I didn’t get what I wanted she would tell me, “Life is short…and then you die!” It was always kind of a joke and she was just giving me a hard time but if you stop and think it is kind of a depressing thought. It is true that our individual lives are very short and before we know it they will be over. I guess what she was really trying to do was get me to realize that life is to short to worry about trivial matters.
Imagine you died yesterday. Most people don’t know when their last day is until it is already passed. Okay, so pretend you died in your sleep last night. Now take a look back on your life. What were the best parts? What were the worst parts? Do you have any regrets? What had you been wanting to do before you die that you now cannot do? Life is short and eternity is very long. Who wants to have regrets or sorrow for that long? Not I.
Seneca was a Stoic philosopher that lived around the same time as Christ. This past week I have learned a little bit about Stoicism and the writings of Lucius Seneca. It has been very interesting to see how my beliefs align with those of Stoicism. I would say their teachings can be summed up by the title of the last conference talk by Joseph B. Wirthlin. “Come What May, and Love It.” This was what Elder Wirthlin’s mother told him when he was having a rough day.
Don’t waste your time worrying about things that don’t matter and that won’t bring you lasting joy. Money, fame, and physical pleasure are fleeting. Daily in the news you hear stories of the rich and famous crashing to rock bottom. What should we focus on then? My opinion is that we focus on things that last. Education, Experience, Relationships. If this is our focus and we don’t lose that focus then no matter what comes our way it can only serve as a learning experience that usually brings us closer to those we love.
Smile it will make you and everyone you see feel better.
the subject-matter of the art of living is each person’s own life. —Epictetus