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On the Shortness of Life by Seneca

I recently read Seneca’s essay “On the Shortness of Life” (URL). In a word, profound!

Seneca lived from 5 BC to AD 65, therefore the wisdom in this essay written back then is just as relevant today if not more. Without tarnishing Seneca’s words, below are some mind blowing quotes from his essay; enjoy!

“Putting things off is the biggest waste of life, it snatches away its days as it comes and denies us the present by promising the future. The greatest obstacle to living is expectancy which hangs upon tomorrow and loses today. You’re arranging what lies in Fortune’s control and abandoning what lies in yours. What are you looking at? To what goals are you straining? The whole future lies in uncertainty, live immediately.”

“Life is divided into three periods; past, present and future. Of these, the present is short, the future is doubtful, the past is certain. For this last is the one over which Fortune has lost her power, which cannot be brought back to anyone’s control. But this is what preoccupied people lose, for they have no time to look back at the past and even if they did is not pleasant to recall activities they are ashamed of.”

“Life is very short and anxious for those forget the past, neglect the present and fear the future”

Stephen King sums this up pretty well: “Get busy living or get busy dying.”

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