“If pleasure and virtue were interconnected we would not see some things to be pleasurable and dishonorable and other things to be most honorable indeed, but hard and only to be attained by suffering.” – Seneca
A well rounded and full life is not synonymous with an an easy and pleasurable life. There is an incredible depth to the human condition and we will not have the opportunity to experience it reading about it in books, poolside in the sun, with a cold beverage near us, and bellies full of healthy food.
No. A full life experience is found at the end of a long life of working harder than we want to for longer than we want to. It is found at the end of a life of facing the difficult parts of our own personalities and finding ways to either work with them or to turn them into something better.
There will be pleasure as well. There will be times where we are having such a wonderful time we will forget that we were ever sad, or hurt, or lonely. There will be times where we know what we are doing is wrong and not good for us but it feels good, so we do it anyway. And we might regret it for a bit but we will come to realize that this too is part of the full life.
But most of it, most of the things that will make us into who we are, they are pleasurable in their own way but it is typically a more nuanced pleasure and it is one that we often do not realize until long after the difficult task is finally finished. These are the parts of life where we get to say, “I do not miss that. But I am glad I did it.”
May we all have lives filled with such moments.
virtus fortis vocat