IS anyone preferred before you at an entertainment, or in a compliment, or in being admitted to a consultation? If these things are good, you ought to rejoice that he hath got them; and if they are evil, do not be grieved that you have not got them. And remember that you cannot, without using the same means to acquire things not in our own power, expect to be thought worthy of an equal share of them. For how can he who doth not frequent the door of any man, doth not attend him, doth not praise him, have an equal share with him who doth? You are unjust, then, and insatiable, if you are unwilling to pay the price for which these things are sold, and would have them for nothing.
EPICTETUS. MANUAL. 25
"You are insatiable if you are unwilling to pay the price for which fame and power are sold and would have them for nothing." In reading this passage this morning I couldn't help but think of how many times I have been plagued with jealousy or feelings of inadequacy because of the lives of others. So many choices that when we have made them change the course of our lives. I have many friends who live in the country are able to work on self-sufficiency with goats and chickens, etc. I live in my husband's grandparents home that we purchased in order to keep it in the family. Our house is in an urban setting that does not allow me to have poultry or raise goats etc. There are times that I wish that I lived in the country BUT I would not have the wonderful husband and family that I have nor would I be able to easily have friends over, or be easily accessible for the Stoic workshop evenings in our home, etc.
If I had to choose between country living and all of the benefits that we have living in an urban environment, for me at this moment in my life, the urban environment wins. I also wanted to be an Opera Singer in my youth but my eldest child came along and was due shortly after I was to start the Opera program at Wilfrid Laurier University. I postponed my admittance for a year at first, but when that wonderful boy was born, I fell in love with being a mother as well as a wife and wanted my family to be my main focus. For me this was a choice that I was willing to make and one that I felt I had to make, although others have been able to jog University with a young child, even a program as demanding as the Opera program.
Now that my children have grown and the "mothering" phase of my life is done I am able to start to look at the things I might have regrets about not doing. The list for me is very short, thankfully. I can look at the list and decide if I still wish now to do these things, figure out the cost of doing them and if it is a cost I am willing to pay, and make plans to move forward with those that I feel are experiences or goals that I wish to do make utmost to accomplish in this lifetime. Of course, I have no control over the outcome as to whether the goals I choose are accomplished, I can only control my efforts, motivations, preparation, etc.
Many years ago my husband and I went through the exercise of seeing if there was a decision made in our lives that we would change and what the outcomes of that change would have been. We both came to the conclusion that without making the decisions that we had we would not have the amazing family or relationship that we both had and would, therefore, not want to change anything. Whenever we watch other people and wish for their lives remember that we would not have the life that we have now, the relationships that we have now, and tally up the cost of change. To live in the present is a gift that allows us to truly appreciate what we have in the Now.