It is not that we have so little time but that we lose so much. … The life we receive is not short but we make it so; we are not ill provided but use what we have wastefully.”
So many men of the highest station have set aside all their encumbrances, renounced their wealth, their business, their pleasures, and right up to the very end of life they have made it their sole aim to know how to live.
Nevertheless, the majority of them depart from life admit- ting that they did not yet have such knowledge — still less have those others attained it.
Believe me, it’s the mark of a great man, and one rising above human weakness, to allow no part of his time to be skimmed off.
Accordingly, such a person’s life is extremely long because he’s kept available for himself the whole of whatever amount of time he had.
None of it lay fallow and uncultivated, and none of it was under another’s control; for being a most careful guardian of his time, he found nothing worth exchanging for it.
And so that man had enough time; but those deprived of much of their life by the public have necessarily had too little.
Lucius Annaeus Seneca, On the Shortness of Life