The Daily Stoic for December 6th, “The Sword Dangles Over You”.
“Don’t behave as if you are destined to live forever. What’s fated hangs over you. As long as you live and while you can, become good now.”—MARCUS AURELIUS, MEDITATIONS, 4.17
The Sword of Damocles, commonly used as a reminder of our own mortality, tells the story of a courtier that -after affirming that the responsibilities of a King are not that serious- is allowed to exchange places with him to prove he’s wrong. The king then hangs the sword over the courtier’s throne to remind him of the burdens of kingship and the danger of assassination.
The Sword Dangles Over You
That sword metaphor, apart from serving as a sign of the futility of fighting against our fate, also reminds us to not live in the future. We never know when the hair keeping the sword hanging over us is going to break.
A lot of people live in the future. When I was younger, I had a friend who was the perfect illustration of this. During high school, he mentioned he was interested in a girl, and when I asked him why didn’t he ask her out, he answered: “Oh I’m too busy now, but when I get to college and choose my career, I’ll have more time for that”.
Then he went to college, and I asked the same question. His answer was: “Oh, I’m too busy with my studies now. When I graduate…”. Then after that, it was after he got his job, then a stable job, then a house, then…
The fact is: he was living in the past. And you never know what’s going to happen tomorrow. While I could easily see than on my friend, I wonder now how many times I’ve lived in the future myself, neglecting the now because it was not “the right moment?”.
Certainly, something similar was in my mind before quitting my 9 to 5 job. When I have enough
Stop making excuses. Don’t behave as if you were destined to live forever. Do it now. Live today.
Today’s Daily Stoic, “The Sword Dangles Over You”,