It’s not that we have a short time to live, but that we waste a lot of itSeneca
The eternal discussion that we have with ourselves, “If I only had more time in life, I would be able to accomplish all of my goals, I only have a short time to live on this earth”. The stoic philosopher Seneca quote above is one of my favorite. Simply said, we have enough time but we waste most of it.
Take this moment in time, what are you doing to accomplish your goals? Why are you not out conquering the world and making your mark? No, we are waiting for later because that seems to be when we are looking to accomplish our goals…later. On our deathbed we will look back upon our wasted life. We will exclaim that we only had a short time to live! We still have this large list of goals that have remained far from reach.
I am sorry to break this to you but you are not going to live forever. There is a finite timeline in which we will be on this earth. I have seen some stoic websites that are selling a poster where you would scratch off on your life journey to 80. ( link example, not a sponsor) I am guessing that after 80 years old, you are on borrowed time. This gives a great visual representation showing not only how much time is left but how much we have used.
Stop Wasting Your Time
We need to stop worrying about what happened before and what will happen in the future. Our bodies are slowly passing away every moment. We have, in a sense, already died in our past. We cannot get that time back, that boat has already sailed. Referring to the stoic timeline, everything that has been marked black is time that is no longer available. When you make that mark on the timeline to cancel it out forever, you are acknowledging the death of your time. Think to yourself if you have accomplished what you have wanted to for the week. By doing this, we become more aware of what we are doing with our time and if we believe that it is time well spent.
Stop Worrying about the Future
There is a vacation that you have booked this summer to a destination that you have been dreaming of your whole life. Everyday you wake up thinking about the vacation. Every night, you goto sleep thinking about this vacation. This is not a way to live your life. You will have wasted this span of time dreaming and yearning for this vacation and lost all of the time that leads to it. Self-check that you are not always living in the future but in the present. Remember that we have a short time to live and we need to stop living in a time that has not happened yet.
“Never let the future disturb you. You will meet it, if you have to, with the same weapons of reason which today arm you against the present.”Marcus Aurelius
Start Living in the Present
Everything that you have control over is happening in the present. As I mentioned before, stop living in the past and stop worrying about what the future will bring. At this moment is what we have the power to manipulate and make it what we would like. Take an assessment at the end of the day to see if you accomplished all of the tasks that you have made for yourself. If you feel that you could have done things differently, make note and hopefully you will create a better day on the morrow.
With this short time to live, we need to make sure that everyday is the best day of our lives. The stoics use the phrase “Memento Mori“, loosely translated meaning “Remember that you will die”. Every day that has passed is one less that we have to accomplish what we have set out to do on this earth. Start appreciating all of the beauty that surrounds you. Mentioned in a previous post, learn to appreciate the Small Life Moments. It could be the leaves on a tree or the way a bird swoops through the air. You (and only you) get to distinguish how you feel about everything. No one else has the power to tell you how you feel about anything that you experience.
Short Time to Live
We actually have a lot of time on this earth if we use our time wisely and stop wasting it on trivial or frivolous tasks. Start appreciating and enjoying everything around us in the present. Don’t worry about what has already happened or what will happen in the distant future. We cannot affect either so we need to remove our focus and redirect to where it will make the most impact. Concentrate on what you can accomplish today and let tomorrow develop from the seeds that you have planted.