Summary of “The Shortness of Life: Seneca on Busyness and the Art of Living Wide Rather Than Living Long”

It is unsurprising that the best treatment of the subject is also among the oldest: Roman philosopher Seneca’s spectacular 2,000-year-old treatise On the Shortness of Life – a poignant reminder of what we so deeply intuit yet so easily forget and so chronically fail to put into practice.
Life is long enough, and a sufficiently generous amount has been given to us for the highest achievements if it were all well invested.
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 Life is long if you know how to use it.
You act like mortals in all that you fear, and like immortals in all that you desire How late it is to begin really to live just when life must end! How stupid to forget our mortality, and put off sensible plans to our fiftieth and sixtieth years, aiming to begin life from a point at which few have arrived!
Living is the least important activity of the preoccupied man; yet there is nothing which is harder to learn Learning how to live takes a whole life, and, which may surprise you more, it takes a whole life to learn how to die.
So you must not think a man has lived long because he has white hair and wrinkles: he has not lived long, just existed long.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, given his own occupation, Seneca points to the study of philosophy as the only worthwhile occupation of the mind and spirit – an invaluable teacher that helps us learn how to inhabit our own selves fully in this “Brief and transient spell” of existence and expands our short lives sideways, so that we may live wide rather than long.
On the Shortness of Life is a sublime read in its pithy totality.

The orginal article.