Here’s a way to feel good every single day, no matter what happens. A way to appreciate even a day stuck in the airport or putting out fires.
A person who wraps up each day as if it were the end of their life, who meditates on their mortality in the evening, Seneca believed, has a super power when they wake up.
“When a man has said, ‘I have lived!’” Seneca wrote, then “every morning he arises is a bonus.”
This can be a hard concept to embrace, since fatigue descends on so many of us unwittingly, and day breaks before we are ready. But think back: to that one time you were playing with house money, if not literally then metaphorically. Or when your vacation got extended. Or that appointment you were dreading canceled at the last moment.
Do you remember how you felt? Probably, in a word—better. You feel lighter. Nicer. You appreciate everything. You are present. All the trivial concerns and short term anxieties go away—because for a second, you realize how little they matter.
Well, that’s how you ought to live. Go to bed, having lived a full day, appreciating that you may not get the privilege of waking up tomorrow. And if you do wake up—which we hope for all of you—it will be impossible not to see every second of the next 24 hours as a bonus. As a vacation extended. An appointment with death put off one more day. As playing with house money.
Because they are.
P.S. This was originally sent on October 4, 2019. Sign up today for the Daily Stoic’s email and get our popular free 7-day course on Stoicism.