The hardest truth we face is the existential crisis of life. We are born into this world and will leave it. There is no arguing this. It is a hard fact of life. Everything that is around us, the trees, our friends and family, the buildings we work in, will one day no longer exist. 

It is one of the toughest realities to face, this feeling of never ending doom which we all will face. The realization that everything on this earth is nothing but a temporary stamp on the history of the world.

The band Kansas summarizes the emotional struggle of this in their song Dust in the Wind:

Same old song, just a drop of water in an endless sea; 
All we do crumbles to the ground though we refuse to see; 
Dust in the wind; 
All we are is dust in the wind; 
Oh, ho, ho; 
Now, don’t hang on, nothing lasts forever but the earth and sky; 
It slips away; 
And all your money won’t another minute buy; 
Dust in the wind; All we are is dust in the wind.

In book ten of the Meditations, Marcus Aurelius states similarly, saying:

Look at everything that exists, and observe that it is already in dissolution and change, and as it were putrefaction or dispersion, or that everything is so constituted in nature as to die.

But how can we defend against this existential crisis that strangles our daily lives and has us question whether or not anything we do is worth it? 

Easily. Embrace it. 

You have today. 
You have this moment. 
You have right now. 

We as humans are not the same from one day to the next. Our hair and fingernails grow. Our mind expands as we learn new things. Our relationships and partnerships strengthen or weaken. We meet new people. We lose friends and make new ones. Our lives are in a constant flux of change. 

As time goes on, more and more things change. When we are young, we think we have our entire lives ahead of us. And then in the blink of an eye, we are ten years older, ten years wiser. Our friends change. Our families grow and shrink. We approach death, the biggest unknown in life.

But by knowing these things, we retain power to embrace them. Like a plant that started out as nothing more than a seed in soil, we too grow over time. 

By remembering that our time on earth is limited, and that the world around us is ever changing, we can learn to make the most of what we have in the present moment. We can embrace this very instant, regardless of what we are doing, and stay present in that moment, working to our fullest capacity to do good and grow.

When the world around you is ever changing, all you truly have is the present moment. 

Learn to make the most of it. The past is gone. The future is obscured.

You have today. 
You have this moment. 
You have right now.

While we may all be but dust in the wind, we’re still here, we still exist, we still have the ability to impact those around us. We have the ability to teach and learn, to leave our mark on the world. While we may come and go, our impact on those around us lingers. What a father teaches his son, his son will eventually teach his own child. We are creatures of thought and understanding. We want to know we’ve made an impact and are remembered. But we don’t need to write a bestselling book or to be famous to leave an impact on those around us. We can simply live by example. As the Stoics said, we can live in accord with Nature and live our best life. 

It is the only life we have. We should make the most of it and impact those we have contact with. 

The Stoic Within

The art of living a virtuous life.

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