“You are living as if destined to live for ever; your own frailty never occurs to you; you don’t notice how much time has already passed, but squander it as though you had a full and overflowing supply — though all the while the very day which you are devoting to somebody or something may be your last. You act like mortals in all that you fear, and like immortals in all that you desire. How late it is to begin to really live just when life must end! How stupid to forget our mortality, and put off sensible plans to our fiftieth and sixtieth years, aiming to begin life from a point at which few have arrived!”
Seneca, writing in the first century, saw busyness — that dual demon of distraction and preoccupation — as an addiction that stands in the way of mastering the art of living.
Nineteen centuries later, Bertrand Russell, another of humanity’s great minds, lamented rhetorically, “What will be the good of the conquest of leisure and health, if no one remembers how to use them?”