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Seeking Calmness: Stop Drifting

Recently, I began reading Marcus Aurelius’’ *Meditations.* I’ve started it a couple of times, but I’ve lacked the focus to follow through with it, which is a shame, because the book is relatively short and an easy read.

During the most recent read through, I’ve been saving quotes that speak to me and the one below really hit me hard.

Stop drifting. You’re not going to re-read your *Brief Comments*, your *Deeds of Ancient Greeks and Romans*, the commonplace books you saved for your old age. Sprint for the finish. Write off your hopes, and if your well-being matters to you, be your own savior while you can.

I think the best way to talk about this is to rephrase it so that it’s a bit more modern and a bit more applicable to my life.

Stop drifting. You’re not going to read Infinite Jest or A Brief History of Time. Nor are you going to watch the 100 Greatest Movies of All-Time, finish that massive list of streaming shows, or read all the classic novels. Sprint for the finish. Write off your hopes, and if your well-being matters to you, be your own savior while you can.

I have a bad habit of collecting things. I’ll collect anything from books, movies, blogs, links, articles, video games, and the list goes on and on. One of the problems with the modern world is it’s easy to accumulate things and I’m pretty sure I was a hoarder in a previous life.

Having a lot of things goes against my minimalistic lifestyle, but as long as it doesn’t take up much physical clutter, I tend to let it slide more than I should. So, why do I collect these things? For the exact reason that Marcus is talking about in that quote. For old age… or for when I finally have more time.

I have sets of DVDs collecting dust because one magical day, I’m going to have all the time I need to watch them. When the reality is, if I truly cared, I would have already watched them. They would have been a priority.

It’s almost as if I buy or save things with this understanding that one day I’ll be able to enjoy them, instead of simply enjoying the moment or today. It’s a weird form of self-delayed gratification that most likely will never come. The only thing that is truly happening is my bank account is getting smaller.

But what I get most from this quote is the idea of letting go. Letting go of what you should be doing. I think a lot of folks feel like you should be doing these certain things like writing the great American novel or reading the 100 Greatest Movies of All-Time when in actuality these are achievements that have no real guarantee of happiness. Unless you are truly enjoying those journeys, there is no reason to set upon them.

I also loved that Marcus said:

Write off your hopes, and if your well-being matters to you, be your own savior while you can.

That may be the most powerful part of the entire quote. Write off your hopes… when have you ever heard that before? Our world tells us to grab onto our hopes and dreams and we clutch them until our dying breath. We admire people who strive to make their dreams come true and we make movies about them. But as we age, and the window for achieving certain dreams closes, isn’t it best to part ways with them? To bid them farewell in a peaceful way instead of living a life of unfulfillment because we are too old, too unathletic, not intelligent enough, not financially independent, etc. I don’t think there is anything wrong with having hopes and dreams, but I do feel that maybe we allow those things to be excuses for not living a content life. I also think at times we hold onto old dreams that no longer serve us, instead of focusing on something new and more applicable to your current situation.

And finally, “be your own savior while you can.” I’ve seen renditions of this quote pop-up online over the past two or three years, and I think it’s something I can relate to.

A long time ago, I grew up thinking I was going to be someone big and important. I was going to make a huge difference, change the world, and be that guy the television told me I could be. Then reality set in, adulthood wasn’t full of Ferraris and mansions, and I found out rather quickly that I wasn’t going to save anyone, because I was struggling to save myself.

That’s when I realized that maybe I didn’t have to save the world. Maybe my only purpose on this Earth is to save myself. To be my own savior. To take this damaged mind and soul and find a way to navigate through the chaos that is everyday life without succumbing to my desires to end it all. Maybe, in some strange way, I became the superhero I always wanted to be, not to the world, but to myself.

Published inSelf-Reflection

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