“Seek not the good in external things; seek it in yourselves.”Epictetus
How strange is it to be born? To be thrust from some infinite void into the present. And like a lens coming into focus, we’re forced to make sense of it all. Everything that exists before we are born—the cloudy atlas of time—stretches out impossibly far. Then suddenly, as quiet as a baby’s kick, as loud as a star, we become an inkblot on the page. So our story begins.
Much like my unborn son, I’ve found myself stuck between two worlds. In one I’m waiting, ruminating in a dense fog, packing away parts of my old life in order to make room for a new one. In another world I’m bombarded by chaos. Like a newborn—I’m gripped by the enormous novelty of my surroundings. I’ve become overwhelmed by my ignorance.
In some ways I’m paralyzed. I’ve felt a slowing of time—like floating in utero, oblivious to my own existance. In others, I feel as if I’m opening up doors to alternate modes of thinking—of being.
How strange it is to be born? Behind us—all that is known, all that humans have desperately attempted to pass on, to burry, to save, to write, to sing, to dream. Every book, every photo, every song becomes a relic.
“To live the best life,” the Oracle told Zeno, “you should have conversations with the dead.”The Daily Stoic
In front of us our ignorance shimmers like a vast night sky. As much as we can anticipate the future—it doesn’t matter now, because it doesn’t exist.
“Think of yourself as dead. You have lived your life. Now, take what’s left and live it properly.”Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
So this is what we have—the long shadows cast by the crumbling statues of history—and the dark sleeping wisdom of the future. Our little inkblot falls in the center of these two roads—wondering—writing our own poem, our own song, to the future that doesn’t exist.
“Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.“James 4:14
And so I write this to remind myself that we are born into the present, the present is where we live, and the present is the most important place to be.
“If you’ve seen the present then you’ve seen everything—as it’s been since the beginning, as it will be forever.”Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
These are our lines written across the page—this is our time between the vast infinity of what has come, and what will be.
How amazing it is to be born into this life; to be alive, present in this moment—the only thing that matters is now.