If you ever find yourself thinking “I wish I knew then what I know now,” this blog's for you.
The ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus once wrote:
Let no one be slow to seek wisdom when he is young, nor weary in the search of it when he has grown old. For no age is too early or too late for the health of the soul.
In a similar passage, he put it more aggressively, writing:
You are no longer a boy, but a full-grown man. If you are careless and lazy now and keep putting things off and always deferring the day after which you will attend to yourself, you will not notice that you are making no progress, but you will live and die as someone quite ordinary.
According to the ancient Stoics, which is a philosophy that originated some 2000 years ago, focusing on thing they could not control – such as age, health, or past trauma – was akin to death, poisoning the only true power we as human possess, making progress in the present moment, both internally, and within our communities.
As the Roman philosopher Epictetus – a man born into a 30-year slave sentence – wrote:
There is only one way to happiness and that is to cease worrying about things which are beyond the power of our will.
Besides, we've all heard the saying “youth is wasted on the young,” a concept dating back at least to the time of the Stoics, with the philosopher Seneca reminding us:
Hang on to your youthful enthusiasms -- you’ll be able to use them better when you’re older.
So regardless of where you stand today, how old you are, what you've accomplished, or how far you feel you still have to go to be the person you want to be, carry with you the words of the Stoics and particularly those of Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius, who wrote:
Life is short. That’s all there is to say. Get what you can from the present – thoughtfully, justly.