"In a little while you will have forgotten everything; in a little while everything will have forgotten you." - Marcus Aurelius.
This is a quote that may sound a little confusing at first, but let me break it down for you. From my perception, there are a lot of people who live their lives on a day-to-day basis and go through it with a very short-term memory and forget things quickly.
What people don't think of is the fact that they in their own lives are only a blip in the life that is the universe. Somebody 2000 years from now will not remember what you did on a day-to-day basis unless you're somebody like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, or somebody who has such a huge impact on the world.
The funny thing about Marcus Aurelius is that in his book Meditations he consistently talks about how life is something that is fleeting and no one is going to remember what he does or what anyone does years after he is dead.
The irony of his journal becoming the go-to Stoicism book is ironic and amazing but it helps bring home the point of this newsletter. On a day-to-day basis, I hear the phrase “I’m going to do this thing because life is short”. Life is not short. In the grand scheme of world history, sure it’s short but in our own experience, it is anything but short.
As Seneca once said, “It is not that we have a short time to live, but that we waste a lot of it”.
I want to ask a question to you all right now. Have you ever been bored? If you have ever had enough time to have the space within your mental capacity to be bored then in my opinion life cannot be that short. Yes, it is short in the grand scheme of the world, however, we only experience life through the lens of our own perspective. It is short in the frame of mind. If you look at time from your own perspective what Seneca is saying is pretty accurate.
Our own perspective is all that matters when it comes to stoic philosophy and I tend to agree with this sentiment. If you are ever somebody who feels bored or feels like your time is being wasted, but that it's okay for that time to be wasted then let me make one thing very clear.
Life is NOT that short.
Life is long enough for you to make an impact on the world. Instead of using an excuse that “life is short” to enjoy simple pleasures that don’t move the needle of life let’s make the most of each and every day. Use the perspective of “life being short but not that short” to stop yourself from taking dopamine hits and making the easiest cop-out excuse possible. Sure we need to make the most of our time but that does not mean simple pleasures need to be littered everywhere because you’re going to die in 10 seconds.
Think about that the next time you say life, “I'll do X decision” that is not in your best interest.
Have an awesome week!
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✍️ Quote of the Week
It is not that we have a short time to live, but that we waste a lot of it - Seneca