“He has the most, he who is content with the least.”
Diogenes of Sinope
Once more I’ve been neglecting reflecting on myself. It’s easy to do when things are going well, and then to somewhat panic and look for the “emergency philosophy” button when things start to unravel a bit. I find myself being better at incorporating some stoicism in my life now. I’m still struggling with existentialism, but funnily enough stoicism is also helping in that regard. I’m happy that I have the energy and time to just sit and think every now and again.
One of my major struggles is impulse control. I’ve become a master of rationalising what I buy. Often it’s a matter of time. I want it and it can’t wait. Quite a lot of articles about success attribute the very successful like Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos to (in part) achieving their success through Stoicism. But I think it’s much easier to be a stoic when you have the material backing. In reality, how much you have or don’t have shouldn’t impact how good of a stoic you are. A stoic sage would remain the same if their billion dollar wealth was removed the next day.
I’m finding myself drawn further than the stoics, closer to the cynics. The idea of an ideal life being one of oneness with nature is enticing, but is almost brought to absurdism by Diogenes. Dressing in filthy rags, not following the rules of society, living off scraps. Even animals follow social structure, and humans may be the most social animals out there. There is ample proof that socially isolated indivitals suffer poorer health and a shorter life expectancy. One-ness with nature, in reality is brutal and deadly. Filled with one could say unnecessary suffering. We;ve advanced to a point where we should be able to cater to the most basic needs of most humans on earth, yet there exists an easy way for people to fill their void with materialism. That’s me, I’ve been replacing anxiety and depression with half comlpleted electronic projects and video games/hardware and tech. This became a habit, a sustainable one when I was earning like a junior doctor, now it’s feeling like I’m finally growing up.
Yesterday was one of the best days of my life. My best friend became married to the love of his life! The entire day felt like a movie, if I believed in destiny or fate, I would use this day as a concrete example of everything coming together at that moment! It was really great to see my friends again, it was a long time since we all met up together. I found myself often coming to thoughts of how sad and lonely I would be leaving again, however then I applied that thought process to every meet up in the future. If at every meet up I think of how sad it would be not to see them again, I’m not actually enjoying the time I have with them in that moment, I’m just putting myself in a negative thought state. So the solution was to leave the sadness to the future, and enjoy their company right there and then.
I had some worries that there wouldn’t be enough photos of me at the wedding so they wouldn’t recall me at it. That is such a ridiculous thought that afterwards I had a good laugh about it. That day wasn’t about them remembering me at their wedding! It’s their day, the way to make them remember it fondly is to make sure I do everything I could for them to have a smooth and fun time. If I want some nice photos for a profile pic, just get dressed the same way and hire a photographer.
Ups and downs, that’s life. Experiencing it is really a privilidge and having the time to reflect on it even more! I haven’t had a passive death wish or suicidal thought in a week or more. I still sometimes feel low or lonely, but this has a different feeling to it that I’m finding difficult to describe.
I guess I’m still worried about mum and her mental wellbeing, as well as dad. But I’ll be back next week to help out.
I need to remind myself that right now, I really have everything I need. If I maintain good food and exercise, I’ll continue to improve. I need to write these reflections more often so that the streams of thoughs are shorter and more coherent. Even without a reply, putting them out there online gives a strange sense of conversation.