Musings

Wishing for a fig in winter ― 2 min read

When you are delighted with anything, be delighted as with a thing which is not one of those which cannot be taken away, but as something of such a kind, as an earthen pot is, or a glass cup, that, when it has been broken, you may remember what it was and may not be troubled… What you love is nothing of your own: it has been given to you for the present, not that it should not be taken from you, nor has it been given to you for all time, but as a fig is given to you or a bunch of grapes at the appointed season of the year. But if you wish for these things in winter, you are a fool. So if you wish for your son or friend when it is not allowed to you, you must know that you are wishing for a fig in winter.

—Epictetus, Discourses

Life sometimes throws some very difficult situations at us that we are often unprepared for and do not understand how to handle. It's easy to look back on something and wish it had gone differently, but really we were all doing the best we possibly could and now the best we can do is look towards the future and be sure not to repeat the same mistakes again.

It's much easier to latch onto and obsess about the past because it is tangible and solid and many of the emotions there can be potent and raw even after many years. By contrast, the future is abstract and totally unknown. Who knows what may be flying your way while you have your back turned on it, wishing for a fig in winter?

God put eyes in the front of your head for a reason.


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