“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.” – Seneca. On The Shortness of Life
I was listening to a podcast interview with Elizabeth Gilbert where she discussed the death of a woman she had a relationship with, and the words she heard from another writer friend, Ann Patchett, who told her:
“[Your loved one] belongs to the eternal now, and someday soon you will too. And that’s true for all of us. You have an infinite amount of time to belong to the eternal with her. But you only have this tiny bit of time to have this experience as a human being on Earth. Don’t lose it by trying to merge with her now. Merge with this, what’s here, the people who are here, what’s in front of you. The weird, strange, heartbreaking thing of being mortal. Do that…. This moment of being human is not to be wasted.” – Elizabeth Gilbert/Ann Patchett
I write about death. Not because I’m in a hurry to get there, mind you, but because it’s a reality for all of us, and embracing stoicism means embracing the concept of Memento Mori; remembering that we all must die. By acknowledging that you set yourself up to make the most of the time you have here. The alternative is to deny that it will ever happen and not make the most of your time. Seems a waste, really, to not get every bit of marrow out of the bone. Take the highlighter out and brighten up the daily pages.
“We ought to hear at least one little song everyday, read a poem, see a first-rate painting, and if possible speak a few sensible words.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Being part of the eternal, the infinite other that we’re all heading towards, makes me focus more on living. I think I’d like to make a run to 100 and put that eternity thing off as long as possible. I have a lot of people to reconnect with whenever I get there. Then too, if this side offers a brief window of time to experience living, isn’t it essential to play your cards with some enthusiasm? It’s Friday once again. Another string of days has passed. Surely we owe it to our eternal selves to make the most of this day ahead. The infinite might just nod its approval.