I was going to take the day off from writing. It was my birthday. I took the day off from reading the news and thought I would just do nothing all day. I’m learning I don’t do that very well.
A few days off with nothing planned has taught me this: I’m not ready for retirement. Not even at 62.
Now, as for what I wanted to share. A quote keeps coming into my life these past few days. It’s a quote I have read before, but I never gave it much thought. Now, it’s hitting me from several directions.
“We have the power to hold no opinion about a thing and to not let it upset our state of mind–for things have no natural power to shape our judgment.” ~ Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, 6.52
That’s pretty eye opening to me. Here’s the thing… everybody seems to have an opinion about everything these days. Even when I try to weigh in and share my thoughts, I get worked up about everything. It’s exhausting.
So, why not take a page from one of the great Stoic philosophers, Marcus Aurelius? He was one of the great Roman emperors. His writings are still studied today. His “Meditations” are thoughtful and insightful.
I greatly admire Ryan Holiday. His Daily Stoic message today is called, “It’s possible to tune these things out.” Ryan uses this very Aurelian quote. He talks about how Stoics worked to get away from hate or dislike. How they got to a place of “indifference” about things.
Ryan writes of indifference and the Stoics, “an almost Zen-like nothingness towards what displeased them.”
Now, it’s easier said than done. Let’s face it, some things are worth getting worked up over. Not everything though.
Cable news gets people worked up over everything. It’s what sells. Tucker Carlson. Rachel Maddow. They deal in opinion. They do it very well.
When people tell me, “I don’t watch the news,” I usually respond, “good for you.” It used to bother me. Not anymore. I do still care about the news. I still love reading it and watching it on TV. I completely understand, however, those who would rather not hear it.
I’m getting that way about opinion. I don’t have to feel this way or that way about everything.
Indifference. I used to think it was a bad word. Now, I’m striving for it.
I didn’t mean to get too deep on a Friday, but Marcus Aurelius keeps showing up. Have a great weekend.