I Read Someone Else’s Journal And It’s Teaching Me How To Live Life

A row of stone statues in a library

You know what I love more than journalling? Reading other people’s journals.

What’s with the look? You’ve probably done the same, or at least know someone who did. Anne Frank’s diary, perhaps? Leonardo da Vinci’s? Sylvia Plath’s?

Anyway, the journal in question (Meditations by Marcus Aurelius) is a couple thousand years old, so I doubt that there’s any invasion of privacy. Besides, Meditations is loaded with so much wisdom that it’d be a waste not to share it with the world.

Here’s my best takeaway to entice you to read more: No matter how separated we are by time and culture, we all still share the same fears, hopes, and desires.

But that’s not the only lesson I’d gleaned from the Roman emperor. So here I present to you, all the ways I’m butchering Marcus Aurelius’s philosophies to suit my own life.

1. You’re not headed for death. You’re already dying.

This was a huge perspective shift for me, because I, like many others, tend to look at death as a destination in the (hopefully) distant future, almost as if we’re on a road trip.

But the Stoics like to believe that we’re dying every minute. So instead of a road trip, we’re actually dissolving in acid, one tiny bit at a time. Death isn’t something that’s going to happen. It’s already here, and it’s slowly claiming us.

In fact, the couple of seconds it took you to read this sentence already belongs to Death. With every tick of the clock, your lose one more second of potential that could’ve been used for many other great things.

Okay maybe I shouldn’t have put this as my first point. Don’t want you closing this tab and actually doing something productive. Just make sure you get to the end before you make up your mind, yeah?

“Think of yourself as dead. You have lived your life. Now, take what’s left and live it properly.”

—Marcus Aurelius
A black and white picture of a skull a

Morbid, no? But good for us. Photo: Ahmed Adly

2. There’s always a positive

I’ve taken a liking to running lately, but that doesn’t mean I enjoy it. And some days I hate it more than usual. I’ll moan and whine, and I’ll wonder why I didn’t pick something less painful as a hobby, say like walking on hot coals or jumping on Lego bricks.

Then I remember that I can always flip the script. There’s always something to be grateful for. In fact, how many people would I be pissing off with my complaints about running?

Because how many of them would love to feel tired? And there I am, hating life just because my ankle’s a little sore?

That thought usually shuts me right up. And it works for all the other privileges I deign to complain about, such as having to eat wholemeal bread (some people don’t even have food) or being stuck in traffic (the car gives me freedom of travel).

“Convince yourself that everything is the gift of the gods, that things are good and always will be.”

—Marcus Aurelius

3. Are you really living your true life?

We sometimes fall into a groove without first reflecting on whether we’re actually stepping closer to our life’s purpose.

Yes, we need to hold jobs, along with the myriad other responsibilities that being an adult entails. But how important is the thing you’re doing right now (I mean, reading this post is kinda awesome, no?) and what role does it play in your life?

Is your daily Netflix binge a purposeful way to unwind after your nine-to-five, or are you just filling up a void? Would you be doing the same thing if death was just around the corner?

On the flip side, if you’ve ever found yourself annoyed by everyday duties such as washing the dishes or doing the laundry, then ask yourself: If it was a choice between doing this or dying, which would I prefer?

Often, your answers would give you a pretty good insight on the state of your life.

“In everything that you do, pause and ask yourself if death is a dreadful thing because it deprives you of this.”

Also:

“People who labor all their lives but have no purpose to direct every thought and impulse toward are wasting their time—even when hard at work.”

—Marcus Aurelius
A group of people working in an office seting

Only we can determine what’s work and what’s our life purpose. Photo: Ant Rozetsky

4. We are all one

Cheesy, isn’t it? But we are. Even back to our Paleolithic days. And that’s darned beautiful if you ask me.

Because while our ancestors didn’t have access to microwaves or Joe Rogan podcasts, they still lived through wars, and plagues, and riots, all of which are happening today.

Like it or not, you are a part of this human experience, which had started since the dawn of mankind, and will continue to the day of our extinction.

And you know what? We’re not all that different. Once you realise how small of a speck you are on the timeline of… well… time, it’s so much easier to feel compassion for your fellow human. Because no matter how culturally or physically different we are, we’re all pretty much the same.

Sure, this sounds like a passage out of a cheap self-help book, but it’s comforting to know that whatever you’re going through right now has been repeated time and time again through history. In fact, the people before us have had it worse.

Which means we’ll never be alone in our struggles. And that’s a pretty cool thing to know.

“Look at the past—empire succeeding empire—and from that, extrapolate the future: the same thing. No escape from the rhythm of events. Which is why observing life for forty years is as good as a thousand. Would you really see anything new?”

—Marcus Aurelius

5. Just do it

My dad used to have a huge issue with road rage, and as a child in the backseat, I’d been a witness to all that was wrong on the road—which only existed in my dad’s mind.

Sometimes, the trigger would be something as simple as a slow driver in the fast lane. Most times, these molehills could’ve turned into ancient history by the time we drove home, had he not made mountains out of them.

Thank heavens for my mother, the more level-headed of the two—on the road, at least—because she’d always ask what his point was.

“So what if he cut you off?” she’d ask, curbing his temper that would fester as long as the offender was still within eyeshot. “We’re all fine now, right? Why can’t we just go on with our lives?”

Her presence was probably why my dad’s road rage didn’t turn into any permanent regrets.

The point of this story? It’s that bad things happen. And there’s no reason to stew over something or someone that doesn’t care about you.

Ride your frustrations. Move on. Because that part of your life has now been claimed by Death. No need to let claim all the following moments too.

“The cucumber is bitter? Then throw it out. There are brambles in the path? Then go around them. That’s all you need to know. Nothing more. Don’t demand to know ‘why such things exist.’”

—Marcus Aurelius
Journal Everest - Christopher Burns

Everest in your way? Just climb it. Lol okay maybe not. Photo: Christopher Burns

I’m probably twisting Aurelius’s words

But then again, I don’t care. Because that’s the point of reading, isn’t it? To take in a string of words and use them to change your point of view?

All I know is that reading through Aurelius’s journals have helped me think in ways I never would have, and it’s made me want to write this piece so that I too can do the same for others.

Sure, I might not hold a candle to the man that was a Roman emperor, but if you’ve read all the way to the end, then at least I’ve managed to coax you into staying. And that’s something.

Which is why it’s time to remind you to close this tab and go on with your day, because time’s a-ticking, and we wouldn’t want to gift Death with too many wasted moments now, do we?


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132 thoughts on “I Read Someone Else’s Journal And It’s Teaching Me How To Live Life

  1. Excellent post. I particularly like ” are you really living your true lives .”It is such a great question that more people need to pause and think about. I feel like our society causes us always be on the move, that we often don’t stop to ponder where are we going?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh yes! It’s so easy to fall into the habit of busy-ness that we forget if all that activity is even contributing to our life goals in the end. It’s also given me a lot of thought on how much time I’m spending on this blog. I may need to reshuffle my schedule a little. I really appreciate you taking the time to drop these lovely comments, by the way!

      Like

  2. One of my favorite books of all time, and in my “five books to change a life” list. Great takeaways. I always tell people to remember that death comes for us all, and to learn to embrace our togetherness in that realm.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh wow. ‘Death comes for us all’ was already something I was aware of, but ’embrace our togetherness in that realm’ is definitely something new. That does put things in perspective. Lovely thoughts. Thanks so much for sharing them!

      Like

  3. “Are you really living your true life?”
    This one struck a cord because I believe I’m not alone when I say that I watch the ghost hunter and urban/abandoned exploration videos as a compensation for lack of memorable life reflection content. It doesn’t have to be those particular types of videos, but with Netflix and TV shows and other forms of visual entertainment, people are attached to these things because they feel that they are not living the life they want, so those things provide escape. Honestly, there are days where I wish I was back in the 90s or early 2000s because back then was when there were more personal connections and groups of friends and families getting together to camp or explore locations or do sleepovers and run around neighborhoods until the moon was up.
    Good times, good times.
    It is my hope that I will have someone share my life with and do some exploration before I croak. Maybe I’ll get lucky. The seafood chef has been real chatty with me ever since I shaved and cut my hair.

    Liked by 1 person

    • To be honest, I do that too. I have a list of people I look up to, and constantly keep in touch with their lives, be it through podcasts or IG. A part of me wishes I’m them, but at the same time, I find it good to be able to see what they’re doing so easily, because it inspires me too. So sometimes visual entertainment could be the exact thing that gets us moving.

      What a coincidence. I was just reminiscing about that exact era as I had stumbled across a clip from Friends. I was so carefree then. Which reminds me to treasure today, because one day I’ll be feeling nostalgic for today.

      Anyway, here’s to finding your life partner!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. This is such an inspiring post! We often get caught up in the Why’s and What’s and forget about our own lives, the infinite possibilities of the NOW! Thank you for sharing this :)

    Like

    • Hey, it’s Damyanti! I know you from the Malaysia Writer’s Community :)

      Thanks so much for stopping by, and yes, while it’s not as easy as it sounds, learning to live in the now is such a blessing.

      See you around!

      Like

  5. I laughed when you said the point of reading is to twist certain words into your point of view. It’s a darker way of saying “connecting it to your own life “ 🤗

    Like

    • Lol gotta be honest, am I right? That’s what all of us tend to do, looking up research to support our points of view, even though we may take things out of context.

      Still, I love the beauty of it, that we can all read the same thing and relate to it in the totally different way. Anyway, thanks for stopping by!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Interesting fresh blog post as always Stuart. I agree with your question here “Are you really living your true life?” , This question made me think and the thought sanked for minutes.

    As we enter the middle of the year I still ask myself that question and I’m happy to say so far I’m living my best life. My Mens Fashion blog is coming together and with new photographs for me to use whilst creating content.

    I love what I do: Fashion, photography, creating content and blogging🙌

    Like

    • It’s so cool that you’ve found your thing, and that alone makes you happy. A lot of people haven’t, and it really is sad to not have a main driving force in life.

      I’m fortunate to have found ‘my thing’, but there’s always need to return to this question, to make sure that I’m following my true purpose. Anyway, always glad to see you here!

      Like

    • I like to make it a game to find what it is that’s benefitting me right now. I saw a YouTuber ask himself a very nice question for the tougher times, and that’s: “How is this the best thing that’s happened to me?”

      All these little reframes really do help a lot. Anyway, thanks for stopping by!

      Like

  7. I admit I, like some of the others, immediately assumed you were snooping through someone’s diary. Yet I can’t say I’m relieved you didn’t 😅. All joking aside, I think that we have a lot to learn from the great ones of old. What I learned from Marcus Aurelius is that we choose how things affect us, or we allow them to. If we’re constantly thrown off course or in perpetual turmoil, we ought to try and change how we’re reacting, because the reaction is only hurting us.

    Like

    • It’s all semantics though, because I did technically do just that. Just because millions others have read Aurelius’s diary doesn’t mean we’re not invading his privacy, eh? :P

      Love your takeaway, because the only thing we have total control over is ourselves, and his quote about ‘don’t feel hurt and you won’t be hurt’ is lovely too.

      Thanks so much for commenting, Hetty. Great to see you here!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I have been procrastinating on reading this book for so long. This post was a sign for to start doing reading it again!

    As always, I enjoyed reading it till the very end. I especially loved the concept of ‘we are dying every moment’. It added a whole new perspective to my life.

    I thank you from the bottom of my heart for such an amazing post, seriously!

    Like

    • Aww, thank so much, Julie! I too tend to forget that every moment is precious. Need that kind reminder from time to time, otherwise it’s so easy to fall into a rut and just while all that time away.

      And I thank YOU from the bottom of my heart for stopping by. Do let me know what you think about the book!

      Like

  9. This is definitely eye-opening, Stuart! I’ll have to admit you ensnared me with ‘I’ve read someone else’s journal’ which at once flared up in my mind as an image of Stuart Danker sneaking through his ex’s notebooks, but apparently it was a published journal.

    Thank you so muchhhhhhhhhh! Your writing style is amazing, and it has for a loooong time inspired me. Though you may not know it — mainly due to my love of changing blog identities completely every half a year or so lol — I have been following you since 2020 (ever since, as you may guess, you left an ingenious comment under one of my beginner and very terrible blog posts), and your blog posts have always inspired me. In fact, I learned a lot about blogging — and far from learning those from your blog posts about blogging correctly, I learned them by watching and learning.

    xox
    Olivia (or so I hope you believe my name is)
    P.S. Thank you so much again. I feel like inspirational people often are on the brim of exploding from the praise they get (if it was not dwindled by the hate they get, little as that is). So without further ado fanks again.
    P.P.S (or is it P.S.S.?) I may be writing like a wannabe Gandalf but I have been bingeing on a Lord of the Rings audiobook this morning and I since then cringe at contractions.
    See you!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Haha yeah, was practising my clickbait skills with that title for sure. I shouldn’t do it that often though.

      And I definitely remember you throughout my entire journey, ever since you sent that email for book editing :P

      That’s because you have a distinct voice, so I do tend to recognise your comments, and that’s a good thing!

      I’m so honoured you always have such kind words to say, and I really appreciate you. You seem to be doing great this time around, with a good spate of posts and networking on WordPress (have seen you around).

      So thanks once again for your lovely comment, and here’s to forever growing!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Mmm … Yes, I remember that time when I sent an email (actually a form on your site) for book editing. It was when I revealed I was a thirteen year old. But actually, my following this site dates back to when I was this really bad blog calling myself Kate Kane and then being known as Redoubtable Writing up until May 2021. And yes, I’ll always leave the long comments! Lol, it means a lot that you remember that much about comment-leavers, given your large amount of traffic. (I hope it is.)

        Why, that’s one coincidence, I have seen YOU around on the WordPress reader. I’m often remote to reply a comment you left on a post by saying “hey, is Stuart danker an extremely humane bot or something or how does he have thousands of comments on every post”.

        See you!

        Liked by 1 person

      • How quickly time passes, huh? It’s a couple years now, and it’s scary how stagnant I am. Yeah for sure, only two people continuously leave long comments here, and the other is in a break I believe, so it’s all you for now :P

        Thanks once again for always showing your support, and for always having the time for my posts! Also, you wouldn’t know, but I COULD be a bot, lol.

        Like

      • Two people!? I am very honored to be part of them and also immensely shocked at how few people keep up with your great content. I know only too well how followers actually never bother to check back in, and it’s WordPress’s little joke when it tells you that this post will be sent to #number of followers# readers. Anyways, I think I know some familiar faces that leave comments on your website almost every post, but you’re quite right to say that the one we shall keep unnamed is taking a break.

        And if I saw a bot that responded so humanely I might as well allow them to ingrain the Apple M1 chip into my cerebellum. You are real enough, because you, unlike me, are present on most social media, email, and other stuff.

        And lastly, I am luuurving your email newsletters very much lately! The personal touch it great, and I will admit that I find them
        simpler than your multi-dimensional posts. Though for some reason, they seem to land somewhere away from my Primary page, and Gmail is very dumb about that. I have to seek them myself but overall the emails are great and I wish there were like buttons on there. And also, our time zones must be very different but I am happy to respond to your comment less than half an hour later.

        Thanks!

        Liked by 1 person

      • It’s really cool how we kinda ‘know’ each other around WordPress, huh? That’s why this community is awesome. Not sure if the plan/price change will affect the demographic though.

        Oh yeah, Gmail is kinda strict, so you’ll have to click on the options button on the top right and set a filter so that it can go straight into Primary.

        And I’m loving your feedback on the newsletter! It’s very rare to come across one, so I’m taking notes. What buttons are you looking for?

        Ha yeah. I’ve always wondered about timezones. I’m +8 GMT here. What about you?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hmm. lol, yeah. I’d know you longer than anyone I’d marry, and that is kinda why people should seek building connections — look how so far only the comments box got us. (We should make a movie about those two who keep sending letters to each other, but with comments.)

        Buttons I’m talking about it kinda like the Disqus emoji feedback thing. You can say react or at least like the email. I thought it was something WordPress was one step ahead than email “posts.” But anyways, I’ve never seen a newsletter do that, so I don’t know if it’s too niche a request — simply saying that I want a reaction option between doing nothing and replying to your email. But overall, I’ll say it again that the newsletter is much more bite-sized and delves into a certain point, which I find relatively easier to digest than the complexy-wordy posts, even though I have to admit one of the things that makes your blog great IS the complexy-wordy posts.

        And I am definetely VERY distant from +8 GMT, almost the other way around, so it’s great to connect with someone from a different time zone, even if these means I’ll wait overnight for your response.

        Thanks!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oh yeah, I imagine those buttons should be doable, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen them in emailing platforms before. But I always appreciate feedback, and yours was valuable!

        Lol, the WordPress comments is probably my method of having pen-pals at this point. And I chat with friends like you more than I do in real life.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah, I suppose it would be a little TOO out of the box if you add a like button to your email newsletter, lol.

        Me too! It’s crazy how well we’re keeping this up. See you!

        Like

  10. This was an insightful post! I love points #4 & #5. I try to live by this philosophy especially in the most recent years. #1 was interesting because until it was stated, I also felt like death was a destination but Marcus Aurelius point of view actually makes a lot of sense because death is inevitable. We don’t get to choose its route. Thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s so easy to think of death as a future that won’t happen to us. But we’re all dying together. Morbid, I know, but sometimes these perspective shifts are what help get our butts off the chair and do something. Love your comment, Angie. Thanks so much for stopping by!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I love this post Stuart! I’ve not read meditations yet but it’s on my list. I’ve read some other books on stoicism and I love being reminded of their teachings. I always have to remind myself of these points that you’ve raised and to keep in mind that one day I will be kapoof. Reading is all about your own interpretation isn’t it?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lovely to meet someone likeminded! And yes, it’s definitely easy to forget these things once in a while. I myself find that the most common point I tend to ignore is the fact that we’re all dying. I think it’s just the human way of dealing with our inevitable future—we sweep things under the rug. Anyway, thanks so much for stopping by!

      Like

  12. It can be paralyzing deciding how to spend one’s moments each day. There is so much to do! I guess that’s one of the exciting things about life though, and those of us who have the freedom to choose are extremely lucky.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh yeah, and we should definitely take time to be grateful if we can choose what we can do with our day. We’re probably in the world’s top 10% if we can do that. Thanks so much for sharing this lovely perspective!

      Liked by 2 people

    • No! I bought it second hand (great deal at USD 3) and it’s awaiting me. I’m just working through Sylvia Plath’s one at the moment, which is kinda heavy. I might actually pause Plath’s and hop onto Anne Frank’s.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ahhhh I hope you enjoy it!!! When you read it… it’s crazy to know she was only 13-15 when she wrote it… you’ll have to update when you do read it- even if you don’t enjoy it! I’m curious your thoughts on it :)

        Like

  13. I think the concept of Memento Mori is so interesting in that while it reminds us of our eventual death, it can also serve as a reminder to live. And living most certainly includes riding out our frustrations. I think it’s okay that we feel those negative feelings, because we’re human. But it’s important to not let those emotions consume us and look towards the positives in life. Thanks for another wonderful post Stuart. Now, as the kids say, time to touch some grass and live life.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh wow. I didn’t see the two sides of the coin of memento mori before, till you pointed it out. So that’s pretty cool!

      Yup. We can always choose how we respond to things, and whenever the negative feelings come and visit, it’s important to know that we don’t need to surrender our freedom of choice by succumbing to them. Of course, being clinical is another issue.

      Thanks so much for your lovely thoughts as always. Spoken like a true Stoic.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Hi Stuart, indeed things could be worse, we should all be grateful. Good or bad is just a mindset, nothing stays permanent. Your mom sounds so wise and we could all do with someone like her giving us a good nudge when we get carried away by stuff that can really ruin everyone’s day. Thanks for another thought provoking post.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh yeah. My dad was probably lucky to have her in the car all those times, because if she wasn’t around, who knows how far things might’ve escalated.

      It’s so empowering to know that everything shall pass, but when we’re in the thick of it, it can seem like it’ll never end.

      Wise words from you too, Lifan. Thanks so much for stopping by!

      Liked by 1 person

  15. You’re absolutely right – no matter how different we may feel we are or how separated by time or geography we are, there are similarities that connect all of us in our hopes and fears.

    These takeaways are all poignant and thought-provoking. I particularly like seeing death as a destination and part of the journey, it takes away the sting of it a bit. As for there always being a positive, this is something I’ve tried to suggest to others and on my blog before; no matter how dire the situation, there’s often some kind of positive, a silver lining or a lesson learned, even if it’s very hard to find.

    I like that your mum and dad were a yin/yang combo on the roads. My dad is prone to getting highly irritated when driving. I’ve worked hard to not get like that as a result!

    Now this, the point on whether what you’re doing is meaningful and part of you living your full life is a tricky one for me. “In everything that you do, pause and ask yourself if death is a dreadful thing because it deprives you of this.” – that’s one that hits me in the gut. I know I need to make changes, to have more meaning or do something I actually want to do in my days.

    Fantastic post. I really enjoyed this and I’m glad to have found your blog to start following now after you commented on mine, so thank you 🙌

    Caz x

    Liked by 2 people

    • The ‘asking yourself whether death would be preferable’ was a great perspective shifter for me, because it works both ways. If it’d suck when death arrived, then I know what I need to have more of in life. If I’d prefer death over any phase in life, then that’s a sign that something’s really wrong. Either way, I win by having that reflection.

      There are the typical comments, and then there are comments, which is what yours is. It’s so wonderful to come across a message like yours because I feel so read, for a lack of a better word.

      Thanks so much for stopping by, Caz!

      Liked by 1 person

  16. I’m so glad that you really enjoyed this book! My husband likes to do storage units and I occasionally, cross journals that are actually fairly recent. It’s one of my favorite pastime hobbies, sometimes I come across kids journals and sometimes teenagers and if I’m really lucky I come across an adult’s. While the wisdom isn’t quite nearly as significant as what this book has helped you see, I will say that it has brought meaning an insight into my life in unexpected ways

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh yeah. I trawl the internet for random journals from the olden days (say a century ago), and the entries are so amazing! Not because I get to creep over a dead person’s secrets, but because it’s so cool to see what their everyday life was like back then, and how similar our hopes and dreams are still. Lovely thoughts, LaShelle. Thanks for joining the conversation!

      Liked by 2 people

  17. Man, this is such a coincidence because I was about to pick up this book as well! You’ve pretty much confirmed my purchase. I think my favorite philosophy you noted was the one about how we’re all dying, at every moment. That really hits deep, and is a motivator all on its own.

    I was wondering: Do you know what translation you read?

    Liked by 2 people

    • I read the Gregory Hays one. The most accessible translation, to be honest. I think there are a couple translators’ works available for free, but the English is so archaic that I had a hard time understanding, even more so than Dickens’s works.

      So yeah, get the Hays one, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Haha…when first I read your title, I thought oh oh are you in danger of confessing something illegal you did? But of cos you weren’t. Instead you’ve reminded us bloggers that while there’s nothing new under the sun, our versions of wisdom can still hold an audience and give us something to chew on. Which once again you’ve done masterfully! Thanks Stu…oh and I think I can shake hands with your dad as a fellow (closet) ‘road-rager’ who also needs the even temper of a spouse to stay my hands when driving! LOL!!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Haha, I think that rage can only get worse once you cross the border? As Singapore seemed like a pretty decent place to drive.

      And you’ve given me an idea. Perhaps I SHOULD write about something illegal, haha.

      But yeah, isn’t it interesting how little differences we all share about our future when distilled down to our core?

      Anyway, thanks for visiting as usual, Kelvin!

      Liked by 2 people

    • Oh yeah, I’ve definitely read Holiday’s works, and I admire the way he reads by scrawling in his books. Love seeing Stoicism through his lens, but there’s something so visceral about reading these thoughts straight from the source (barring the filters from translations).

      Thanks so much for stopping by Izzat, and just a heads up, your Gravatar may need updating, because the current URL doesn’t exist anymore (I believe you have it backwards).

      Like

  19. “…Now, take what’s left and live it properly”: that first quote in particular resonates with me. It feels like a fresh start every day. I enjoyed this blend of thoughtful wisdom and humor, and I want to go read somebody’s journal now!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh yes! Do it! Let’s creep on other people’s journals together!

      I just love connecting all the journals I’ve read, and discovering the common lessons and problems in their lives. Then I connect all that to my own life and try to live better.

      Thanks so much for stopping by!

      Liked by 1 person

  20. I really relate to this perspective, although I’ve never put it quite in these exact words before – comparing it to death. I just always think, what’s worse than what is actually happening now and I actually force myself to think of something worse. And I always do, and in that moment, I realize that things really could be worse. I also think about what I wanted 5 years ago and how much of it is exactly in front of me currently, and this forces me to stay present. When we compare every issue or dilemma we’re going through to the fact that we all have just one life and it can be easily dimmed at any moment, it really brings us quite a perspective shift. Thanks for the reminder :)

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh yeah! I am terribly guilty of living in different times other than the present. I reminisce about how things used to be better, or how my future could look so much happier, but I often forget that the present is where it all happens, and then I blink my eyes and another month has passed.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Jen. What a lovely addition to the topic!

      Liked by 1 person

  21. Think of it like this. You know why I can’t run. Each time you complain about running, you can think about this random blind guy from internet who wants to run, but can’t.

    Aside from that, I do think that my blog is turning into a journal lately.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Definitely, Tanish. You actually offer a great perspective that more bloggers should be wary of, and that’s why I enjoy your posts. I wouldn’t say it’s strictly journal-like, since you do educate people other than yourself. Keep on keeping on!

      Liked by 3 people

  22. We all are One Stuart, and the deeper we dig into the mind, going way back, we eventually realize that fear and separation are illusions. All the appearances of madness-war-poverty are the ego actually believing that we are separate. This is insanity. But when we go back through the mind we see that only love and One-ness are real.

    Ryan

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lol, we definitely are indeed, Ryan. And I may seem like I’m giving out woo-woo vibes by saying stuff like this sometimes, but I can’t help but feel we’re just all leaves on the same tree. Anyway, thanks so much for sharing your thoughts, Ryan!

      Like

  23. Awesome read! There certainly is alot to think about. Am I living my true life? That’s a big one! Haven’t felt it for over ten years since I’ve been on disability. Now that I’ve started blogging I’m feeling a little more purpose. You’ve stirred my spirit with this post. Thank you (I think lol)

    Liked by 2 people

    • Always glad to be a stirrer of spirits, and I don’t mean being a bartender.

      It’s great that blogging gives you purpose. I feel that way about writing too, in that there are few vocations that offer the same opportunity for growth and learning.

      Thanks so much for stopping by!

      Like

  24. It’s funny how perspective changes with age. I remember at one time thinking 40 and 50 were old. I’m now 63, and my philosophy is attached to your first point. I don’t dwell on getting old or usually feel depressed about it. I know the hourglass has turned, and there are only so many grain sands left. That doesn’t make me sad, though. It’s more a kick in the pants to go after all the things I want to still do in life. Since retirement, I’ve had many firsts, and I intend to keep the ball rolling this year more than ever.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Isn’t that interesting? Aurelius also said that if we both were to die right now, despite the age difference, you don’t have it better than me. In fact, we both lose the same thing, which is the present.

      That’s so cool that you’ve had so many firsts, and I too am rooting for you to continue on. Thanks so much for sharing your story, Pete!

      Liked by 1 person

  25. Lots of wisdom in this post, Stuart.

    Funny thing: I have a favorite Marcus Aurelius quote I’ve carried with me for at least the past 20 years (and have had it sitting in a half-written blog post for the past month or so!):

    “The first rule is to keep an untroubled spirit. The second is to look things in the face and know them for what they are.”

    Mmmmm! Love that one. Will turn it loose as soon as I crawl back up on the blogging bandwagon!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Time and death really do help us see things clearer, don’t they? If it’s something that won’t bother us on our deathbed, why are we hyperfocusing so much on it right now? Changing perspectives like that sure does help. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts, Michelle!

      Liked by 2 people

  26. Wow I love how you write! Your humor keeps me hooked! I also loved this topic and I’m actually more of a Stoic than I thought! I really resonate with all of those points except number 3. Because I think it’s easy to get so caught up in not doing enough, at least in American culture. And people become like hamsters spinning their wheels and getting nowhere. Burnout inevitably ensues. And sometimes our dreams and goals can haunt us and make us want to give up. So I think balancing progress with mindlessness (Netflix binging) is really important. Bc I love doing pointless, unproductive things, that actually restore me and get me ready to get back out there and produce! And I even find the mindless things pretty spiritual too. Sometimes messages come to us through social media and TV ha! This is just me of course, and not sure it’s relatable. But I love how this got my brain going, and also validated a lot of my existing beliefs. It felt comforting and relaxing to read this, honestly ☺️

    Liked by 3 people

    • You bring up a good point, though I think #3 agrees with your perspective completely.

      Because if doing ‘pointless’ things is meaningful to you, then are those activities really pointless? I think that’s the main gist of it.

      I also love the quote that follows #3, in that we can work as hard as we want, but it would be pointless if we don’t reflect on why we’re working so hard in the first place.

      Thanks so much for your kind words, Libby, and I look forward to you exploring your Stoic side more!

      Liked by 2 people

      • Ah yes that makes sense when you put it that way. And yes, I feel like me plopping down to binge Downton Abbey is an effective way for me to decompress, and I do it pretty deliberately. So that checks off the #3 box for me as well, I guess I’m 💯Stoic! 🤣🤷🏼‍♀️💖 Thank you for your perspective and seriously, I’m
        so looking forward to more of your posts!

        Liked by 1 person

  27. Forgive me as I’ve never heard of Marcus Aurelius and his diary but this is one really good read.😊
    His point of view is quite different from the one my generation has, and his makes things wayyyy easier. Cucumber is bitter? Throu it out then. Save the complaint.

    By the way, I really like the topic of death, it’s intriguing. I hope that’s not too weird. 🙂
    Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll go continue living my life which has already been claimed by death. Have a nice day!!😃😃

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh yeah, death is a morbid topic, but it’s also necessary. For some reason, we just sweep it under the rug and refuse to acknowledge it until it arrives, which might be too late, if you ask me, lol.

      But hopefully, we learn enough in life so that we can face our mortality with more dignity and hope. Thanks so much for your lovely comment!

      Liked by 2 people

      • Facing our mortality is not something that easy in any way. I mean, such powerlessness over how much time we have in Earth is crazy, but it also puts a lot of things in perspective.

        Like

    • Isn’t that awesome, that people generations and continents apart can embody the same exact principles? I follow motivational channels on YouTube too, and it’s trippy how Buddhist monks can sometimes have the same viewpoints as ex-convicts. In some ways, life is so similar when we get to the core. Anyway, thanks for stopping by!

      Liked by 2 people

  28. Lovely post. every morning at uni I would have the book next to my bed and open a random passage. It really does give a wonderful insight into how we should consider living.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I just love books that allow me to do that. How often do you get to open a random passage and still get full context, as well as the wisdom to get through your day? Lovely, right? Thanks so much for stopping by, Oliver!

      Liked by 3 people

      • It certainly makes it really attainable. It’s not like going through a full philosophical work which can often (more times than not) feel like a drag. Yet meditations feels really attainable, even when it is fille with quite mind bending passages!

        Liked by 1 person

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