Thirty-one brief years ago, I was born. Thirty-one very long years later, I am a very unhappy 31-year-old man; lost and without aim. After more than three decades I’ve finally gotten to the hard questions in life – not questions about God or about purpose, but ones about the nature of happiness and how best to live my one and only life.
Everything before this was easy but now it’s all internal, now it’s all about me. Up to now I have made an identity out of going against the grain, of being difficult and hard to deal with. I have been the most temperamental, intelligent, and arrogant ass I have been able to be – and this strategy, as it were, has had its advantages. I have become a hard man. Not of strength or might, but of spine and mind. I am not afraid, I am not weak in the knees, I am not forgiving, I am not kind, and I am 99% certain that I am better than you. Do you see how that list of advantages went very quickly from good things to bad things? This is something I want to change.
Thirty-one very long years later… I have come not to regret my past actions or present self, but to realize that I am incomplete and that the softer parts of what make me human need a lot of attention and even more work.
The person I have cultivated has lead itself, through a strange sort of inevitable necessity, to a philosophy seemingly tailor-made for the sort of intelligent, yet incredibly foolish and stupid person I have become. Stoicism has snared my reins and ignited an internal conflict that I must, by virtue of my desires to never submit to authority and to never admit defeat to authority, confront. Stoicism is, for me, the most perfectly crafted spider web within which I have become entangled and I believe this to be for the best.
This blog is therapy for me. Epictetus, the father of Stoicism, is my therapist on this journey, along with Marcus Aurelius, George Long, Sharon Lebell, and others. This blog isn’t for you, it is for me – my decision to write it online, under my own name for all the world to see, was inspired by the following:
Now is the time to get serious about living your ideals. Once you have determined the spiritual principles you wish to exemplify, abide by these rules as if they were laws, as if it were indeed sinful to compromise them. Don’t mind if others don’t share your convictions. How long can you afford to put off who you really want to be? Your nobler self cannot wait any longer.
- Epictetus, as interpreted by Sharon Lebell in The Art of Living
Living my ideals means attaching my name to them and letting people know they are mine – taking responsibility for using them to manifest change in my mind and life. I want you to know I’m doing this because I want you to know why I changed who I was, why I am who I am, and why I will be who I will become.