The value of attentiveness

Run through the list of those you knew yourself. Those who worked in vain, who failed to do what they should have—what they should have remained fixed on and found satisfaction in. A key point to bear in mind: The value of attentiveness varies in proportion to its object. You’re better off not giving the small things more time than they deserve.

~ Marcus Aurelius

Surprised by old age

Their minds are still childish when they are surprised by old age, which they reach without preparation and without weapons, for they have stumbled upon it suddenly and unexpectedly without realizing that it was stealing upon them day by day.

~ Seneca

Thought and reason and law

If thought is something we share, then so is reason—what makes us reasoning beings. If so, then the reason that tells us what to do and what not to do is also shared. And if so, we share a common law. And thus, are fellow citizens. And fellow citizens of something. And in that case, our state must be the world. What other entity could all of humanity belong to? And from it—from this state that we share—come thought and reason and law.

~ Marcus Aurelius

Instead of possibilities, I have realities

What will it matter to him if he notices that he is growing old? Has he any reason to envy the young people whom he sees, or wax nostalgic over his own lost youth? What reasons has he to envy a young person? For the possibilities that a young person has, the future which is in store for him? “No, thank you,” he will think. “Instead of possibilities, I have realities in my past, not only the reality of work done, and of love loved, but of sufferings bravely suffered. These sufferings are even the things of which I am most proud, though these are things which cannot inspire envy.”

~ Viktor Frankl

Set a value

They take no notice of it because it has no substance and is not a visible entity, and therefore it is reckoned very cheap, or rather completely valueless. Annuities and bonuses men are very glad to receive, and hire their labor and effort and industry out to obtain them. But upon time no value is set; men use it as carelessly as if it came gratis.

~ Seneca

Numbered precisely

If men could see their future years numbered as precisely as their past, what a flutter there would be among those who saw that their remaining years were few, how sparing of them would they be! With a fixed amount, however small, it is easy to economize; but when you cannot know when what you have will be gone you must husband your store very carefully.

~ Seneca