“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” — Annie Dillard
How much water is left in YOUR fishbowl?
Imagine that the moment you are born that your number of allotted years is represented as a fishbowl of water. For some, the bowl of water represents 90 or more years. Sadly, others only get a day. Most of us are allotted days somewhere in between. But, the fact of the matter is that the quantity is quite finite. In more morbid terms, we all march inexorably to our deaths from the moment we enter this world.
Now, this is a most unsettling thought! So unsettling, in fact, that most of us can’t handle it. Sure, we all know we’re going to die – in a 21st century intellectually rationalist sort of way. But, we really don’t BELIEVE it – nosiree, not with the same conviction that we believe, for example, that the sun will rise tomorrow. Seneca tells us as much when he writes;
“You live as if you would live forever; the thought of human frailty never enters your head, you never notice how much of your time is already spent.” ———— Seneca (quotes in green)
I don’t know about you … but, that pretty much sounds like me. I rarely give my fishbowl much thought.
SENECA – THE VERY RICH STOIC
Seneca states that not only do we refuse to come to terms with our very brief time on earth but, even worse, we waste away the precious little time we do possess. He goes into considerable detail showing how we shackle ourselves to our labors and our professions. He laments that we give so much of ourselves – in terms of time – to those who do nothing but waste our time. He considered it a tragedy that too many die as if they were children, never having learned to live a full life. In modern terms he would say we’re all too happy that etched on our tombstones is our greatest accomplishment; “He filled out all his expense reports on time.”