“It’s not at all that we have too short a time to live, but that we squander a great deal of it. Life is long enough, and it’s given in sufficient measure to do many great things if we spend it well. But when it’s poured down the drain of luxury and neglect, when it’s employed to no good end, we’re finally driven to see that it has passed by before we even recognized it passing. And so it is — we don’t receive a short life, we make it so.”SENECA, ON THE BREVITY OF LIFE, 1.3-4a
It is often said that “life is short”. This is false. Life is not short — we have plenty enough time, we just waste it on unimportant things. And this wisdom comes to us from a book called “On the Brevity of Life”, no less!
In today’s entry in The Daily Stoic, the author Ryan Holiday points out that we spend an enormous amount of time in our lives on things that we think are important — but really aren’t. We commit to things that we don’t have to, we chase activities that have no purpose, and basically we just waste time with mindless tasks.
Life isn’t actually short, at all. We just make it that way. We don’t know exactly how many days we have remaining, but we should live as though we are dying, and take full advantage.
Perhaps the Sword of Damocles falls today, perhaps it falls thirty years from now. No matter — act as if today was your last day, and that all days after today are just ‘bonus life’. Get out there and take advantage of the days you have remaining. Don’t make them short — life doesn’t have to be short unless you make it so.