“Hey Tom, welcome to my second blog on How To Become a Stoic.”
“Great Dave, I can’t wait to delve further into the Stoic philosophy.”
“This is what we will focus on today:
Stoicism helps not only those who face challenging situations, but also for those who face PERMANENTLY challenging situations.”
“Dave, do we face permanently challenging situations?”
“Of course we do, Tom, we face permanent discomfort and illnesses of aging.
This is a daily struggle of ours. We are a victim of our aches and pains and depression of aging.”
“So, what do we do, Dave?”
“Well Tom, Stoicism will help us develop a personal philosophy about life in old age.
We need to feel like an agent in the world. Agency is very important.”
“Agency? What’s that?”
“Agency is the human capability to influence one’s functioning and the course of events by one’s actions.”
“Oh, I get it, Dave, agency is taking charge of our lives.”
“Yes Tom, old age discomfort and disability take away some of our agency.
So to live with old age we need to Reclaim Our Agency.”
“Sounds like a tough call, Dave.”
“It is my friend, BUT we have to do it for our peace of mind.
We need to maintain agency under permanent challenging circumstances.”
“I think I know what to do next, Dave.
We need to focus on our abilities, NOT our disabilities.
Focus on what Can we do, NOT what we cannot do.”
“Right on, Tom, I’m proud of you!”
“The next thing is to “Know Thyself.”
You have to know your limits as you age. Also, we need an alarm system to tell us when To Stop Suffering and begin taking charge.”
“How about our life plan, Dave, we probably have to keep revising that.”
“Right, we need to figure out what we want to do with what life is left.”
We both stopped to digest our discussion so far.
“One goal of Stoicism is to achieve tranquility. We need to accumulate positive thoughts and reject negative ones. We have to learn equanimity in the face of Adversity.”
“That’s also a tough call.”
“Our problem, Tom, is that we are too self-aware.
We fix on problems and negative thinking.
We keep forgetting Epictetus’s dichotomy of control.
Things under our control are: our responses to problems and our behaviours.
Not the situations we find ourselves in.”
We chewed on that for a while.
“We need to reflect on our condition and make an effort to see things in a different light, one that is more rational and compassionate.
This change of perspective will help us to cope better with our situation.”
“I get it, Dave, what we are aiming for is Peace of Mind and Inner Tranquillity!”
We chewed on that also.
“Dave, do you think we can change our future?”
“You can change how you will feel in the future by how you respond to your situation.
The choice is yours, Resist or Accept the situation.
Acceptance means a reduction in your suffering!”
“Lets talk about the road to Serenity.
In the morning remind yourself that the only thing you truly possess are your choices.
In the evening remind yourself how much is out of your control and accept it.
At bedtime remember sleep is a form of surrender and this calms you.”
We both tried to digest all these points.
“The cards were dealt and we played them the best we could.
Think of the life you have lived as OVER.
See what’s left as a bonus and live it as fully as possible.
Once you pass 80 you’re living on borrowed time!
Let us be the best people we can be–TODAY!”
“Anything else, Dave?”
“One last thing:
Don’t mind me, I’m only dying slow!!!
What if you found out you only had a year to live?
This question is designed to make you consider how different your perspective of life would be if you had a year to live.
Nothing like a terminal prognosis to wake people up!
But here’s the rub–You already have a Terminal Diagnosis.
We All Do!!!
Every person is born with a death sentence!!!
EACH MINUTE THAT PASSES IS ONE YOU’LL NEVER GET BACK!
Once you realise this, it will have a profound impact on what you do, say, and think.
Remember you are a dying person.
WE ALL ARE!!!
So, live your present moments as enjoyably as possible and be kind to yourself and others.
THE PRESENT IS THE ONLY LIFE YOU HAVE!”
With that, Tom and I waked out into the sunshine,,,
TWO STOICS FACING THE ROCKY ROAD OF LIFE!