So I’ve Read All These Quotes, What’s Next?

I have been reading quotes frequently through my commonplace notebooks because I need a reminder. I might get lost along the way and I need guidance and wisdom to find myself again.

I’ve experienced a rough patch during the last weeks of 2020 and I don’t think I would be here, standing strong, if it weren’t for the wisdom from the people I wrote in my commonplace book.

“…be ready to meet your responsibilities like a hero. Because whatever tomorrow brings, major or minor, it will be what you’ve been training for. Responding to what life throws at us—that’s what this philosophy is about.” —From Daily Stoics email, “Life Will Go On. What’s Your Plan?”

Having this conclusion makes me trust myself more that whatever tomorrow might bring, I would be able to overcome it because I’ve been training for it. I have to do the work.

This is also why I work really hard on my personal growth. At the end of the day, its not my circumstances, what I am facing, or what I am working on that matters, its how I respond.

I cannot control my loved ones. I cannot control what and how many academic works will be given to me. I cannot control how my professor will perceive my works. I cannot control how the audience will interpret my writings.

But what I can control is me— how I respond to them and how I do my work. I am training everyday learning how to respond, reading the words of other people so I know how I can act in my own life, applying what I’ve studied every day, and practicing it again in another day.

“Let’s face it … people and events are going to continue to both hurt and disappoint you. Among the people will be those you most love, as well as those you least know. Seldom is it their intent to purposely hurt you, but rather, a variety of situations mostly beyond your control will cause them to act, speak, or think in ways which can have an adverse effect upon you, your present feelings and emotions, and the way your life upholds. It has been this way through six thousand years of recorded history, and your hurt or grief is not the first time a human has been deeply hurt by the inappropriate actions of another.

The only way to avoid being touched by life––the good as well as the bad––is to withdraw from society, and even then you will disappoint yourself, and your imagining about what is going on out there will haunt you and hurt you. Knowing this, there is but one solution that will support you when people and events hurt you, and that is to learn to work harder on your personal growth than anything else. Since you cannot control the weather, or the traffic, or the one you love, or your neighbors, or your boss, then you must learn to control you … the one whose response to the difficulties of life really counts.” – Jim Rohn

This Too Shall Pass

In the October 1 issue of Daily Stoic newsletter entitled ‘And This Too Shall Pass’, it reads:

Marcus Aurelius certainly understood this, writing that we must “keep in mind how fast things pass by and are gone—those that are now, and those to come.” The events of the world—good and bad, beautiful or tragic or terrifying—flow past us quickly. None of them are stable, each of them disappears with due time into the rush of the water, and is never seen again.

Classes has started and in retrospect of how 7 months had been, I can remember how I my stomach twists every time I publish an article publicly. When an article I wrote for my internship got posted I literally got out of social media because I just can’t take how much pressure I felt. When I joined an artwork contest for the first time, I cried when my artwork got published because I am just so embarrassed to have my artwork posted. I wrote an article about rethinking prisons and jails, which I almost did not pursue at all because I’m scared that I may not write it well, but I overcome that.

During the first few weeks of this blog, I used to overthink that what if the time comes that I would not have anything to write anymore? Hence, back then, I only post once per week. Then by June—after weeks of reading books and articles, and watching videos— I had these article ideas that I want to write so I began writing whenever I wanted and just posting it. By July, I launched another blog for design projects that empathizes with people, I used to worry about what if I would not have anything to post on that blog and what if I can’t post on schedule? Three months later, I strictly followed the every other day posting of my design blog. Since classes has started, for this and consequent months, I changed to posting twice a week (every Thursday and Sunday) for my design blog.

Ooooooh. Look at that chessboard.

The “following the strict schedule” mattered to me a lot. I have commitment issues before but I overcame those because of small successes.

In all those times, I worried a lot about not having enough experience or just being not enough at all. But reading this quote from Richmond Walker every day helped me cope up:

Any man can fight the battles of just one day. It is only when you and I add the burden of those two awful eternities, yesterday and tomorrow, that we break down. It is not the experience of today that drives men mad. It is remorse or bitterness for something which happened yesterday or the dread of what tomorrow may bring. Let us therefore do our best to live but one day at a time.

In those times, I made sure to be present. Whenever I caught myself worrying of the past or the future, I remind myself that I am in the present. I’ll focus on what I can do today. My tomorrow self can worry about tomorrow. I will do the work of today.

Also, Richmond Walker was an alcoholic. Every day must be a struggle for him—battling his addiction and other things he need to worry about—and yet, he constantly do his best to live for today; to be present.

A lot of us struggling but again, remember that this too shall pass. We are here not to worry but to live; to live for today.