On the Shortness of Life Quotes

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On the Shortness of Life On the Shortness of Life by Seneca
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On the Shortness of Life Quotes Showing 1-30 of 268
“You act like mortals in all that you fear, and like immortals in all that you desire”
Lucius Annaeus Seneca, On the Shortness of Life
“It is not that we have so little time but that we lose so much. ... The life we receive is not short but we make it so; we are not ill provided but use what we have wastefully.”
Lucius Annaeus Seneca, On the Shortness of Life
“They lose the day in expectation of the night, and the night in fear of the dawn.”
Seneca, On the Shortness of Life
“People are frugal in guarding their personal property; but as soon as it comes to squandering time they are most wasteful of the one thing in which it is right to be stingy.”
Seneca, On the Shortness of Life
“Often a very old man has no other proof of his long life than his age.”
Lucius Annaeus Seneca, On the Shortness of Life
“Life is long, if you know how to use it.”
Lucius Annaeus Seneca, On the Shortness of Life
“You live as if you were destined to live forever, no thought of your frailty ever enters your head, of how much time has already gone by you take no heed. You squander time as if you drew from a full and abundant supply, though all the while that day which you bestow on some person or thing is perhaps your last.”
Seneca, On the Shortness of Life
“The greatest obstacle to living is expectancy, which hangs upon tomorrow and loses today. You are arranging what lies in Fortune’s control, and abandoning what lies in yours. What are you looking at? To what goal are you straining? The whole future lies in uncertainty: live immediately.”
Seneca, On the Shortness of Life
“But life is very short and anxious for those who forget the past, neglect the present, and fear the future.”
Seneca, On the Shortness of Life
“...it is more civilized to make fun of life than to bewail it.”
Seneca, On the Shortness of Life
“Whatever can happen at any time can happen today.”
Seneca, On the Shortness of Life
“As far as I am concerned, I know that I have lost not wealth but distractions. The body’s needs are few: it wants to be free from cold, to banish hunger and thirst with nourishment; if we long for anything more we are exerting ourselves to serve our vices, not our needs.”
Seneca, On the Shortness of Life
“Of all people only those are at leisure who make time for philosophy, only those are really alive. For they not only keep a good watch over their own lifetimes, but they annex every age to theirs.”
Seneca, On the Shortness of Life
“Can anything be more idiotic than certain people who boast of their foresight? They keep themselves officiously preoccupied in order to improve their lives; they spend their lives in organizing their lives. They direct their purposes with an eye to a distant future. But putting things off is the biggest waste of life: it snatches away each day as it comes, and denies us the present by promising the future. The greatest obstacle to living is expectancy, which hangs upon tomorrow and loses today. You are arranging what lies in Fortune’s control, and abandoning what lies in yours. What are you looking at? To what goal are you straining?”
Seneca, On the Shortness of Life
“We must go for walks out of doors, so that the mind can be strengthened and invigorated by a clear sky and plenty of fresh air. At times it will acquire fresh energy from a journey by carriage and a change of scene, or from socializing and drinking freely. Occasionally we should even come to the point of intoxication, sinking into drink but not being totally flooded by it; for it does wash away cares, and stirs the mind to its depths, and heals sorrow just as it heals certain diseases.”
Seneca, On the Shortness of Life
“No one could endure lasting adversity if it continued to have the same force as when it first hit us. We are all tied to Fortune, some by a loose and golden chain, and others by a tight one of baser metal: but what does it matter? We are all held in the same captivity, and those who have bound others are themselves in bonds - unless you think perhaps that the left-hand chain is lighter. One man is bound by high office, another by wealth; good birth weighs down some, and a humble origin others; some bow under the rule of other men and some under their own; some are restricted to one place by exile, others by priesthoods: all life is a servitude.

So you have to get used to your circumstances, complain about them as little as possible, and grasp whatever advantage they have to offer: no condition is so bitter that a stable mind cannot find some consolation in it.”
Seneca, On the Shortness of Life
“So you must match time’s swiftness with your speed in using it, and you must drink quickly as though from a rapid stream that will not always flow.”
Seneca, On the Shortness of Life
“And so there is no reason for you to think that any man has lived long because he has grey hairs or wrinkles, he has not lived long – he has existed long. For what if you should think that man had had a long voyage who had been caught by a fierce storm as soon as he left harbour, and, swept hither and thither by a succession of winds that raged from different quarters, had been driven in a circle around the same course? Not much voyaging did he have, but much tossing about.”
Seneca, On the Shortness of Life
“So it is: we are not given a short life but we make it short, and we are not Ill-supplied but wasteful of it.”
Seneca, On the Shortness of Life
“All things that are still to come lie in uncertainty; live straightway!”
Seneca, On the Shortness of Life
“We must indulge the mind and from time to time allow it the leisure which is its food and strength.”
Seneca, On the Shortness of Life
“People are delighted to accept pensions and gratuities, for which they hire out their labour or their support or their services. But nobody works out the value of time: men use it lavishly as if it cost nothing. But if death threatens these same people, you will see them praying to their doctors; if they are in fear of capital punishment, you will see them prepared to spend their all to stay alive.”
Seneca, On the Shortness of Life
“O how many noble deeds of women are lost in obscurity!”
Seneca, On the Shortness of Life
“Believe me, it is the sign of a great man, and one who is above human error, not to allow his time to be frittered away: he has the longest possible life simply because whatever time was available he devoted entirely to himself.”
Seneca, On the Shortness of Life
“So let those people go on weeping and wailing whose self-indulgent minds have been weakened by long prosperity, let them collapse at the threat of the most trivial injuries; but let those who have spent all their years suffering disasters endure the worst afflictions with a brave and resolute staunchness. Everlasting misfortune does have one blessing, that it ends up by toughening those whom it constantly afflicts.”
Seneca, On the Shortness of Life
“Il maggiore ostacolo al vivere è l’attesa, che dipende dal domani e consuma l’oggi.”
Seneca, On the Shortness of Life
“vices have to be crushed rather than picked at.”
Seneca, On the Shortness of Life
“the time of the actual enjoyment is short and swift, and made much shorter through their own fault. For they dash from one pleasure to another and cannot stay steady in one desire.”
Seneca, On the Shortness of Life
“You must set your hands to tasks which you can finish or at least hope to finish, and avoid those which get bigger as you proceed and do not cease where you had intended.”
Seneca, On the Shortness of Life
“You should rather suppose that those are involved in worthwhile duties who wish to have daily as their closest friends Zeno, Pythagoras, Democritus and all the other high priests of liberal studies, and Aristotle and Theophrastus. None of these will be too busy to see you, none of these will not send his visitor away happier and more devoted to himself, none of these will allow anyone to depart empty-handed. They are at home to all mortals by night and by day.”
Seneca, On the Shortness of Life

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