jPay Message #315

A big part of doing a bit is making plans for the future. It doesnt have to be a goal, necessarily, but you wanna imagine life after the joint in as much detail as possible, so I can work to bring about its realizations. During this process, I learned some fundamental things about myself, the kind of life I truly desire. I know without a doubt that I wanna get married and have a family–thats required for my ultimate happiness.

But ive also learned about my likes and dislikes on less serious subjects. For example,I wanna go to an indycar race, but i cant stand watching nascar. also, Id like to keep a dog or two when I first get out to keep my company. Im gonna name them after my favorite roman emperors. e.g. nero, ‘cal’ for caligula, and ‘marco’ for marcus aurelius, whose my all time fav.

I first read his ‘meditations’ when i was in college, and it helped me endure thru some difficult times. Ive rececntly got a copy, rereading for the first time in a decade. The book is a masterpiece of practical stoic philosophy, and i still find passages that resonate as deeply with me today as they did all those years ago.

Here’s one particular excerpt from the opening pages of Book 5 that I’ve written out and posted on my tack board as a daily reminder, especially at the start of the day, when I jus wanna roll over, go back to bed, and skip working out:

“at dawn, when youre reluctant to get up, hae this thought readily available. I have work to do as a human being, and that’s why Im getting up. Do I still resent it if Im on my way to do the work for which I was born and for the sake of which I was brought into the world? Or is this what I was made for, to lie in bed and keep myself warm? ‘But it’s really nice.’ So is pleasure what you were born for? And, in general, was it for feeling, not for doing? Can’t you see plants, sparrows, ants, spiders, and bees all doing their own work and playing their part in the world’s order? and are you then reluctant to do human work? Why arent you eager to do what comes naturally to you? ‘But rest is important too.’ Yes, I agree. Nature has set limits on rest, however, as it has on eating and drinking as well; but arent you overstepping those limits and taking more than suffices for your needs? It’s only when it comes to action that you havent yet reached the limits of your abilities. And the reason is that you dont love yourself. If you did, you’d love your nature and its purpose. Other people who are devoted to their areas of expertise wear themselves out over them, forgetting to wash or eat. Do you value your own nature less than an artisan does his metalwork, a dancer his dancing, a miser his money, a celebrity his moment of fame? In their obsession, theyre willing to give up food and sleep in favor of spending more time over the objects of their passion. Does state business seem less important to you, worth less effort than they put in?”

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