The following is inspired by Seneca’s 32nd letter, “On progress.”
Live in such a way that if you died tomorrow, you would die happy.
If I died tomorrow, I would want to die holding my romantic partner and enjoying his presence.
What I’m proposing is not a plea to check off your bucket list as soon as possible. This is an exercise in reminding yourself of the things that really matter. In the normal daily grind, worry, anxiety, fear arise mostly from the desire for a better future. We all want something that we don’t currently have, and we stress out about the fact that we don’t have it and wonder how we can get it. But if you died tomorrow… there is no future. There’s only the here and now. How would you spend your time in that here and now? Whatever answer you give is what really matters to you. Remember that answer. When you find yourself prioritizing something else over that answer, stop yourself. What you’re doing doesn’t really make you happy. Get back to what really matters and stay there. It’s what you really care about.