In yesterday's post, I gushed about Tim Ferriss's Tao of Seneca (which you can get here for free). It's a collection of letters Seneca (an old Roman dude) wrote to his friend, Lucilius, providing important life lessons.
Don't you just wish people still wrote letters?
I can't remember the last time I got a handwritten letter. And I'm not talking about one of those phony junk mailers designed to look cursive. I mean an honest to goodness letter.
If an old guy (or woman, I'm not sexist), started mailing me letters on the meaning of life, I'm not sure what I'd do.
If the advice was sound, I might send a gift card. Good mentors are hard to find.
Because I don't know if Lucilius appreciated Seneca's advice, I think we owe it to him to at least consider what he has to say. Especially since none of the so "divorce experts" or "super lawyers" I know have any idea what a divorce feels like for someone else.
Value Your Time
In Letter No. 1, Seneca tells Lucilius to "set yourself free for your own sake; gather and save your time, which till lately has been forced from you, or filched away, or has merely slipped from your hands."
He explains that "the largest portion of our life passes while we are doing ill, a goodly share while we are doing nothing, and the whole while we are doing that which is not to the purpose."
He emphases that there is nothing in life more precious (or limited) than time. And yet, very few among us appreciate it. We let fools and cheap and useless things steal it from us.
He pleads with Lucilius to "hold every hour in your grasp . . . While we are postponing, life speeds by."
As a divorce lawyer, I see much wasted time. People consumed by anger. People who allow unkind and troubled spouses to steal the present from them. Sometimes, for years after a divorce has ended.
I don't claim to know what Seneca would say to you. I have enough trouble trying to figure out what he'd say to me.
But what I can share is that I hate when people fight unnecessary battles, even when I get paid. My life is too short. If you want that approach, I can refer you to a guy in Minneapolis. He'll fight until all your money is gone.
The other thing I believe is that you should figure out what makes you happy. And then run like hell in that direction. Don't stop to wave goodbye.
No, I'm not suggesting that you steal the kids or shack up with a new stud or quit your job.
Okay, maybe quit your job. But not until the divorce over. And you check with me first.
When we were kids, all of us knew what made us happy. We had dreams of the big things we wanted to do. The kind of people we wanted to be.
Somewhere along the way, most of us got lost. Me included. We spent nights watching Netflix instead of writing a novel or tinkering in the basement or even bowling with friends.
What if the divorce isn't the worst thing that happens to you? What if it's a gift? A second chance to take charge of your time before life passes you by.
What would you do with that time?
For me, the answer is helping people and writing fiction. I love books as much as I love law. If you poke around long enough, you might just find some stories I've written.