Join 300,000+ other Stoics and get our daily email meditation.

Subscribe to get our free Daily Stoic email. Designed to help you cultivate strength, insight, and wisdom to live your best life.

We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time.

Is This Teaching You to Appreciate Things?

Daily Stoic Emails

How suddenly life can take from us all the things we took for granted. 

Whether it’s a global pandemic that locks you in your house or one of the capricious exiles that the Stoics experienced, much can be taken from us. Our ability to see our friends. Our financial security. Even our freedom of movement. 

That sucks. But it sucks even more if you don’t learn from it, if you don’t take this moment as instructive and eye opening. 

When Musonius Rufus was exiled, instead of bemoaning it, he reminded himself that even when he was free in Rome he didn’t see all of his friends often enough. He didn’t go outside often enough. Or see the city enough. So we can imagine that when he finally returned to Rome, he was a little more present and procrastinated less too. When Marcus was stuck on the muddy frontiers, bogged down in endless war, it was then that he wrote his most beautiful philosophical passages in Meditations. It was there that he wrote some of those haunting and poignant observations about nature, about stalks of grey, and majestic lions…even though those things were hundreds of miles away. 

Some sense of normalcy will eventually return. The question for us is whether, when that happens, are we going to go right back to our self-obsessed, ungrateful, closed off lives? Or are we going to start appreciating the little things? Are we going to start noticing? Are we going to stop putting things off or taking stuff for granted? A walk around the block. A dinner with a friend. Leisurely browsing a bookstore. Watching live music. Pushing your kid on a swing. This quarantine has shown us how special these ‘ordinary’ things actually are. 

Life is short. It can be interrupted. In an instant, everything can disappear. So enjoy it while you can. Appreciate it while you can.

P.S. This was originally sent on August 26, 2020. Sign up today for the Daily Stoic’s email and get our popular free 7-day course on Stoicism.