January 29

“In life we should behave as if it were a formal dinner. If something is set before you, reach out and take a reasonable portion with gratitude. If it passes you by, do not try to make it come back. If it has not come to you yet, do not try to hasten it but wait patiently for it to arrive. Carry this thought with you in respect to children, spouses, jobs, and wealth.” – Epictetus

We all have things that we want, things that we need and things that we want to be rid of. We are learning to recognize the things we control and try to limit our wants and want-nots to those things but still, we will have things we desire in life. And life will deliver many of the to us in time.

We can not control life’s timeline as much as our arrogance and vanity might tell us that we can. In fact trying to hasten the arrival of something we can not control is going to lead to stress and uncertainty which in turn limits our ability to learn from our present experiences.

All we have to do to recognize this is to think back to a time in our lives where we actively tried and subsequently worried about hastening the arrival of an event. Graduating from school is a good example for most of us. Much of the time we thought about getting through school, meeting the requirements and trying to do it as quickly as possible took away from us gaining and learning from experiences we were having during that present time.

The same principle applies to starting a family, earning enough money, and having a lifestyle we want. These things are all fine goals but we cannot allow our focus on our goals to become worry or uncertainty. We cannot be so concerned with our future goals that we miss the experiences that it is going to take to accomplish them completely.

virtus fortis vocat

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