Planning with Seneca

A few days ago, I was cleaning out an old Franklin Planner, prior to disposing of it, looking for any phone numbers, business cards, etc. that I might want to save. Now if you aren’t familiar with the FranklinPlanner company, they are the makers of some of the finest time management tools anywhere. I was a devoted user of the Franklin system for over twenty years, and during my all too many years in Corporate America, I have gone through more daily planner pages, binders, and calendar pages than I like to think about.

But that said, I  hadn’t used my old paper calendar planner in a couple of years. Being a home worker, I found a big spiral notebook and small desk calendar provided the same time management results for a fraction of the cost, so my old planner sat on the shelf collecting dust, until I decided it was time to clean house.

In the process of cleaning out my planner, I ran across a quote that I had copied from the internet and pasted on one of the monthly divider tabs in my planner. I read this quote daily for a very long time, and since it seems to dovetail in with some other things I have been blogging about here on EEOTPB, regarding mindfulness and our time and how we spend it, I thought I would pass it along to you.

The quote comes from Seneca the Younger, the stoic Roman philosopher (b 4BC – d 69 AD). If anyone’s words can be said to have real staying power, it’s Seneca’s. They are as true today, as they were in the first century:

“No one will bring back the years; no one will restore you to yourself. Life will follow the path it began to take and will neither reverse nor check its course. It will cause no commotion to remind you of its swiftness, but glide on quietly. It will not lengthen itself for a king’s command or a people’s favor. As it started out on its first day, so it will run on, nowhere pausing, or turning aside. What will be the outcome? You have been preoccupied while life hastens on. Meanwhile death will arrive, and you have no choice in making yourself available for that.”

Talk about a guy who has a way with words…that Seneca…

4 thoughts on “Planning with Seneca

  1. What a great passage. I myself love the teachings of stoicism, but the practice is so hard, because I’m actually a pretty weak person in reality. Working on it every day though. Anyway, thanks for this post!

    • I think most of us are weak, I know I certainly am. But being aware and trying to make each day a little better than the last one is what counts. Thank you for reading, Stuart!

  2. As an eighty-one year old guy who dosen’t walk all that well and has some balance problems (checked out medically. No obvious causality), it would be a good thing if I could get myself to be a little more stoic about it all ,be more thankful for what I have in life and maybe be more giving and nurturing to others. But ,instead I get depressed, rail against my state and want to turn back the clock. So what I should do is help myself as best I can and have Seneca’s words seared into my brain : “No one will bring back the years: no one will restore you to yourself “..

    • I think railing against our current state and wanting to turn back the clock (at least a little), is pretty much normal, especially after one reaches a certain age. I am amazed when I hear people say, and I have heard this quite a lot, that they have ‘no regrets’ in their life. I always feel that anyone who says that is not being truthful, or simply they have done so little introspection and self examination that they truly believe it. Personally, I feel that any day that I wake up and find my gratitudes exceed my expectations is a very good day. Thank you for reading Pete. Be well.

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