On the Shortness of Life
Written by Seneca the Young
It is not that we have a short space of time, but that we waste much of it.
Life is long enough, and it has been given in sufficiently generous measure to allow the accomplishment of the very greatest things if the whole of it is well invested. But when it is squandered in luxury and carelessness, when it is devoted to no good end, forced at last by the ultimate necessity we perceive that it has passed away before we were aware that it was passing. So it is — the life we receive is not short, but we make it so, nor do we have any lack of it, but are wasteful of it.
“The part of life we really live is small.”
Suffer anyone to seize their estates, and they rush to stones and arms if there is even the slightest dispute about the limit of their lands, yet they allow others to trespass upon their life — nay, they themselves even lead in those who will eventually possess it. No one is to be found who is willing to distribute his money, yet among how many does each one of us distribute his life!
In guarding their fortune men are often close-fisted, yet, when it comes to the matter of wasting time, in the case of the one thing in which it is right to be miserly, they show themselves most prodigal.
Life is short if you waste it on trivialities. For instance, life will seem especially short if you only pursue status or power. You’ll always have your eye on some future goal and won’t be able to enjoy your current situation. people spend their life preparing for life. But worst of all are those who seek glory after death. These people get wrapped up in planning for a posterity that’s not even theirs Busyness doesn’t equal fulfillment. Not every path should be pursued. It’s pointless working for someone whose aims and convictions don’t agree with your own. Doing so is the surest path to a short life. You can choose to be educated by the world’s greatest minds. you can forge your own path in education and self-improvement. What’s even better is that they’re always available. You can engage with such thinkers on a daily basis, and they’ll speak truth every time, pointing out your attributes, both negative and positive, without sugarcoating things. However, you have to be careful when selecting which great minds to read and what you will glean from them. There’s no point reading just to compile trivial facts; you have to educate yourself purposefully. Life is Long enough to devote yourself to self-knowledge and true wisdom. The great minds are your torchbearers in this task. True satisfaction springs from within. The surest path to true satisfaction is to conduct yourself within your means and to appreciate your lot in life. This way, you will never feel that you’re lacking anything. The instant you start to covet unnecessary Material items, however, you will feel that you are stuck in a sort of poverty. The important things in life can’t be removed or diminished by others. It’s simply not within the capacity of a mere mortal to rob you of your critical faculties or to eradicate your ability to appreciate the beauty of the mountains or the sea. Self-worth comes from within. Only you can determine how satisfied you are with the world around you. To ensure a tranquil mind, tailor your career to your personality and don’t forget to enjoy yourself! But no matter how you conduct your life, be sure to serve mankind with actions, writing or your intellect – at least, to the best of your abilities. You won’t gain anything by taking on tasks to which you are ill suited. Accept only those enterprises that you are sure you will finish Don’t overdo it. You wouldn’t incessantly till the soil and expect a cornucopia every time.