-Letters from a Stoic, Seneca
Who was Seneca?
Seneca was a philosopher, statesman, and orator who was born in 4 BCE and died in 65 CE. He was an advisor to Emperor Nero, until accused of being a part of an assassination attempt on Nero’s life, and thus was ordered to commit suicide. During the course of his life, Seneca wrote several treatises and tragedies and hundreds of letters. He made a lot of important contributions to Stoicism, a school of philosophy that is usually described as a way of life. The Stoics were concerned mostly with actively and intentionally living virtuous lives. Philosophy wasn’t purely a collection of thoughts and theories, or even a mindset. For the Stoics, philosophy was actionable and applicable to everyday life; it was a lifestyle.
Now look for someone to love…
When we lose a friend — maybe due to the passing of time, the misalignment of values, or even a sudden visit from Death himself — it creates a void in our life. We don’t just have to come to terms with not being able to connect with our lost friend, we have to find a new thing to love in his place. We have to find someone or something worthy to replace him. Because we have not lost just a friend, but the object of our affections.
When that friend was around, you allotted a certain amount of love as theirs. In the inner cellar of your heart, there are maybe ten boxes of love, or twelve, or twenty. And you, living a full life, give away all of these boxes on a regular basis. You hoard nothing, skimp on nothing. You give your all. So when you lose a friend, their share of the boxes stays in your cellar. Those two or three boxes just sit there and slowly begin to pile up. Some start to rot while others block your path and cause you to trip. It’s maddening. The more the boxes pile up, the more you remember your lost friend. The more you grieve. The more you stumble…
So you must find something or someone new to love. You have to rearrange your life, your priorities, your schedule in order to compensate for the extra love you have free and lying around. In order to move on, you must find something or someone new to love.