I’m at camp here the day after a very celebratory Fourth of July fireworks display last night on the shore of Hobbs Pond, Hope, Maine.
Holidays are for recreating, backing off, and celebrating an major cultural event. To me, the Fourth of July represents a celebration of freedom.
Our national day for embracing freedom is now past for 2019. I am the grandchild of immigrants from Poland, and that my presence here has only been possible due to the decades of hard work that have been put in by my grandparents, parents, and now my own family to achieve what we have.
I own a home and a tiny a camp in Maine, a couple of cars, four bikes, and an old motorcycle. Everything is finally paid for. it’s taken me 69 years to do it.
As much as I want an easy and expansive life, a little voice inside my chest whispers to me, “Don’t make it too easy.”. I’m not sure how the little commentator got in there, whether it is my Polish suffering gene, or my Catholic roots, but it is there and it is something I don’t need to return to therapy to obliterate. Today’s Daily Stoic message is just what I need to hear right now.
From today’s DailyStoic.com:
It’s very easy to get comfortable. To build up your life exactly how you want it to be. Minimize inconveniences and hand off the stuff you don’t like to do. To find what you enjoy, where you enjoy it, and never leave.
A velvet rut, is what it’s called. It’s nice, but the comfort tricks you into thinking that you’re not stuck.
The Stoics knew that this was a kind of death. That as soon as we stop growing, we start dying. Or at least, we become more vulnerable to the swings of Fate and Fortune. Seneca talked over and over again about the importance of adversity, of not only embracing the struggle life throws at us but actively seeking out that difficulty, so you can be stronger and better and more prepared. A person who has never been challenged, he said, who always gets their way, is a tragic figure. They have no idea what they are capable of. They are not even close to fulfilling their potential.
So that leaves you with something to think about today: Are you challenging yourself? Do the choices you make push you or do they help you atrophy? Are you in a velvet rut?
Be honest. And then challenge yourself to do better.