Seneca makes an eye opening reference in this book to the waste of our lives, being involved in meaningless situations and distorting the definition of happiness, and as a result we remain hanging and incapable of experiencing true happiness (prosperity).
Below, you will find a distinctive extract of the book «The shortness of life»:
It’s not the age
«There is no reason for anyone to believe that someone has lived long because of the white hair and wrinkles- he didn’t live long just because he stayed alive for a long period of time. Would you claim that someone’s journey lasted long because that individual, as soon as he left the port, he encountered a violent storm, which threw him from one place to another, while the wind was blowing hard from different directions and prowled him inside the circle? His journey was not long, his discomfort was great.”
No one will restore your years
… However no one will restore your years, no one will return them to you. Life will follow the path which it has begun and will not reverse or even limit its course. It will not make noise; it will not remind you how fast it is. It will slip silently – it will not be made bigger with royal orders or popular applause. As it began on the first day, so it will continue, nowhere will it change its course, and it will never be delayed. And what will the outcome be? You will be absorbed in your occupations, and life will go unattainable – and somewhere in the meantime death will come, for which, whether you want it or not, you have to find some free time.
The expectation that relies on tomorrow
… People make goals and their support is the farthest future, but there is not a grater loss of life than the postponement. It deprives them of every new day and nullifies the present with some future promises. The biggest obstacle of life is the expectation that relies on tomorrow and forgets the present. You set what lies in the hands of luck and let go of what’s in your hands. What are you looking at? What goal have you made? Everything that’s going to come is uncertain • live for the moment! That great poet is shouting at you and, with his divine inspiration, he sings to you these salutary lyrics:
«The best day in a life of a miserable person, is the first day that is lost».
«Why are you late? », he says, «Why do you remain idle? If you don’t seize the day, it will slip away». But even if you seize it, again it will slip away- for this reason and in the speed you seize it, you have to rival the speed of time, just like a stream- which flows forcefully but not forever; you have to drink fast. We have to mention also that the poet articulated greatly his doom for the endless time waste by writing «the best day» and not «the best period».