You look around and you see people rushing everywhere. Rushing through traffic. Rushing to get their kids down to bed. No time to talk. No time to sit. There is too much to do. There is somewhere to go, and the faster the better.
This was as true in the ancient world as it is today. In Rome, people were rushing to get their mail, rushing to win the next public office, rushing to the next round of games in the Coliseum, rushing to their next big accomplishment. Or at least that’s what they thought…
Seneca makes the point, however, that what we are really rushing towards—with all deliberate speed—is death. That’s what he means when he says that we get death wrong. Death is not some distant thing in the future, some looming end date, to which the proper response is to try to squeeze in as much stuff as possible before it comes. Instead, death is something happening to you right now. It’s happening as you read this email (hope it’s been worth it!), it’s happening as you struggle to put your daughter’s shoes on so you can drop her off at school and then it’s happening still more as you sit down to that coffee meeting you rushed to even though you didn’t want to have it in the first place.
The time that passes, Seneca reminds us, is death. It belongs to death. You’ll never get to live that has been lived back. So why are you rushing? Why are you thinking about the future at the expense of the present?
Life is too short to be lived in fast forward. Slow down...The Daily Stoic
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