Stop Wasting Your Life! On the Shortness of Life by Seneca – Stoic Philosophy

Stop Wasting Your Life! On the Shortness of Life by Seneca – Stoic Philosophy

It’s not that we have a short time to live, but that we waste much of it. Life is long enough, and it’s been given to us in generous measure for accomplishing the greatist things… Alright, so Seneca was looking around and seeing how everyone was complaining about how short life is, and he said, “Look, life isn’t short.

You’re just wasting most of it.” “You’re always drunk and unconscious.” “You’re willing to spend time with people that add no meaning to your life and that you don’t even like.” “You come home and fight with your wife until it’s time to go to sleep.” “You’re willing to work as a slave for someone until you’re 60 and done with public duties.

” “And then when you’re 60 and finally wake up, you look at life and say, ‘Where did it all go?'” And I thought, “Wow!” I mean 2,000 years have passed and just look around you.

Nothing has changed. Absolutely nothing!

He says, “Look back at your life…” Start adding up all the stupid things you spent your life on. And let’s make that relevant for today.

.. Hanging out with people that you don’t even like, and then coming home and making sure that you also don’t miss out on their really important Facebook status. Spending hours passed out drunk, unconsciously watching TV, constanstly fighting with your spouse about stupid little things, doing your little meaningless duties, that you feel like you MUST do. You actually don’t HAVE TO do most of the things you think you have to do.

But now, add up all those hours, and it turns out you’ve had plenty of time! All those hours are plenty of time for you to have lived a great life.

But you didn’t, and instead, you now complain about the shortness of life. And this is really hard for people to understand. There’s nothing I value more than my time.

I’m like really greedy with my time, and I get shit for it all the time. But here’s the thing… It’s always a choice that you have to make, and everything comes at a cost.

Let’s say I dedicate an hour to talking to a friend of mine who wants to bitch about how he hates work… Now, what am I giving up when I do that? Well, I could’ve dedicated that hour to doing something that I think is meaningful or something that I actually enjoy.

I could have spent quality time with my girlfriend, or a friend who I’m going to learn from, or who’s going to add more happiness or meaning to my life.

Because when I’m dying, I’m not going to look back at my life and say, “I’m so happy I gave my time to every person who wanted to bitch and complain about something.” “And I’m so glad that I listened to some rumors that I really didn’t give a shit about but hey, at least I was really polite.” No..

. I’m going to say, “I’m happy I spent time doing what I thought was meaningful and doing what I loved.

I’m glad I spent time with people who were actually important…

” Seneca says, “Do you just hand out your money to everyone?” Probably not, right? If you had a friend who asked you for a $100 every other day, he probably wouldn’t stay your friend for too long, right? So why are you handing out your time to everyone whenever they want to bitch about something, or when they’re just wasting your time? I mean it makes no sense!

You can always make another $100, but you can’t make another two hours that you just wasted on something stupid. So stop handing out your time to everyone, and start valuing your time. Realize it’s the most important thing you have. And you know, I’m 22 years old right now. And I look at life, and I think, “If I live to 60, that’s like 40 more years.

” “That is so much time!” That is so much time! You could do the most unbelievable things in 40 years! But there’s probably going to be some 60-year-old guy watching this and saying, “Heh, look at this naive little kid.” “You have no idea how fast it flies by.

” “There is no time to do anything…” And you know what, I agree..


Forty years isn’t sufficient time when you’ve spent 39 of those years being a slave for someone else from 9-5, when you’ve given your time to everyone just because they asked for it, when you’ve spent years unconscious in front of the TV, and when you’ve spent entire nights fighting with your wife about who should do the dishes..

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Charles Lamm

Transitioning from my career as a lawyer, I've adopted a minimalist lifestyle and delved into the digital world, writing ebooks and reestablishing my online identity, reigniting my love for ceaseless traveling.