I’ve recently quit, moved, started a new job. My parents also quit, moved and started a new job. Past few months have been filled with packing materials, vacuum cleaners and a distracted mind.
“A good person is invincible, for they don’t rush into contests in which they aren’t the strongest. If you want their property, take it-take also their staff, profession, and body. But you will never compel what they set out for, nor trap them in what they would avoid. For the only contest the good person enters is that of their own reasoned choice. How can such a person not be invincible?”
Epictetus, Discourses, 3.6.5-7
Two of the pillars of Stoicism are being just and having temperance. Our social conditioning often leads us to apply justice to others and temperance to ourselves. However, justice has to apply to yourself too. Similarly, temperance can be imposed on someone if it is just and you have the ability to do so.
I’ve rushed into something. A big move, a deviation from my “career path”. I’m far away from my friends and family. The start was rocky since I didn’t take the time to explore options and took someone for their word when choosing accommodation. All of this has added large amounts of stress and anxiety to my life, which have impacted my mood dramatically. In that situation the solution is to resolve the conflict, set myself up then keep in touch with my friends and family. If I was applying stoic pillars and perception, I would have delayed starting work, applied temperance and justice towards myself. It isn’t fair on anyone to have to undergo so many changes in such a short period of time without some form of support. Waiting a few weeks more, ensuring financial stability and a smooth move into new accommodation would have made me invincible to the situation and I would have been much better suited to deal with whatever else arose.
I’ve put myself into a very vulnerable position, a choice that wasn’t reasoned fully. I’ve used busy work do distract myself from it thinking “I’ll deal with it when it happens”. Well, it’s happening now, and I really wish I dealt with it earlier, or started it differently.
I’ve fallen into another emotional hole, luckily I think I recognised this much faster. I’m less likely to delay and procrastinate what needs to be done. Wake up and make the bed, the rest will follow. Make the bed, write a reflection. Think on my choices, work towards invincibility.