“As is a tale, so is life: not how long it is, but how good it is, is what matters.” – Seneca
Insecure men around the world will rejoice that this post is about the idea that is quality, not length that matters.
Alas, I am merely speaking about life, nothing more.
Whether you live to be 75 years or 100 years old, our time on earth is indescribably brief. The Earth has existed for over 4 billion years and should remain for another 4-6 billion before our sun explodes and life in our solar system as we know it is eradicated.
None of us will be around in our current states for that anyway so lets focus on the quote at hand.
The fear of death is both natural and common. I will admit to occasionally having near-panic attacks at the idea that one day, in the very near future with regards to the cosmic scale, that I will be dead. I try to put this thought out of my mind by realizing that it is, despite my best efforts to exercise and eat right, inevitable. Therefore, I should focus not on the duration of my life, something out of my control, but instead on the quality of my life, such as the Stoics – including Seneca here – would ascribe.
Seneca is also famous for the quote: “it isn’t that life is short, but that we waste a great deal of it.” This again reinforces the idea that it is the quality of a life that matters, rather than the quantity.
What good is a life of 100 years if you never find love, if you lack friendship, if you lie in bed infirmed with illness, if you shun relationships for the sake of pursuing an ever-lasting life.
Would you rather sit on your death bed at the old age of 100, with nothing to show for it other than the wrinkles on your forehead, or would you rather pass much earlier but with your heart and mind full of joy, happy memories, and a life of laughter?
A long life of quality would be ideal. But if one must choose, I would suggest choosing quality. The quality of our life is what makes it worth living, not the duration.