Hoo. It’s – hoo boy. Just focus on one thing. Just focus on the thing ahead.
I know it’s kind of hokey, but honestly, after this year, maybe I need hokey, you know? It’s not like anything else has worked. It’s sort of like – I, Emperor of Rome, son of Marcus Annius Verus, heir to Hadrian, know, on some level, that just “drinking more water” isn’t magically going to fix everything, that eventually when it comes to drinking water you experience diminishing returns, and that it’s not going to suddenly clear up my skin and make me the sort of person who gets cheerfully out of bed at gallicinium, ready to face the sunrise. But it’s also like, okay, there’s not a lot that’s within my control right now, and that’s good for me, and that’s free, and that I can do throughout the day as a reminder to look after myself, you know? So fuck it, yes, I’m going to try to drink more water this year, and I’m not going to be embarrassed about it.
Starting this year, I’m not going to be surprised when people disappoint me anymore. Ahh that sounds so, I guess, Tumblr-y, but I don’t mean that in a passive-aggressive way, I swear. I’m just going to wake up – WHENEVER I wake up, and I’m not going to beat myself up if I oversleep once in a while, that’s just a sign that my body probably needs the rest, right? – and say to myself, okay, some people today are probably going to be really challenging, because they haven’t found a way yet to stand in the light, and it’s not that they’re trying to make my life more difficult, they just don’t Get It Yet.
Not that I’m trying to say that I get it! Ahhhahahha good thing no one’s ever going to see this, idk idk idk, I just mean I’m going to try to respond with patience, and to remember that no one can ever make me feel small without my permission. Like, if we’re all part of the same divine material, it’s not even possible for someone else to hurt me, which is why it doesn’t even make sense for me to still carry around dark energy w/r/t Antoninus. I want to release that energy! I really do! And if I want to do it, then I do it! Antoninus, I release that energy towards you, I mean, I imagine it was probably really hard for him to see me become quaestor before I was even twenty-four!
Not that I want to spend time trying to read other people’s minds in the new year, ahhh. I’m just: I release it. It’s honestly not my business if Antoninus or Gracchus or whomever is jealous of me, if they even are jealous of me. I want to spend more time this year releasing things, whether that’s just clutter around the house or relationships that don’t honor my higher self or books I’m never going to get around to reading, because I really want to get in touch with my own mortality, not that I want to spend a lot of time obsessing over death, because I can’t change it, but I want to live in a constant state of radical acceptance so that when I do die it’s not like Oh my God, ahh, death!!! like, DEATH!!! but more like, Yes, okay, this. Does that make sense??
Because if I’m really just honest with myself right now, I can accept that I’m never going to read all of these books. I keep buying them, and saying I’m going to read them, and then I don’t. Then when people are like, “Oh, Marcus, what are you reading right now?” which is a perfectly innocent question, I feel like they’re trying to GET me, and I’ll just name whatever books I recently bought (which, is that compulsive??) and hope they don’t ask any follow-up questions because then I have to guess what I think the book is probably about (not that a book can really be ABOUT anything lol) and that kind of feels like lying.
Relatedly!! I don’t want to keep PUTTING EVERYTHING OFF. Like, I sometimes feel like I just say yes to everything because I don’t want to disappoint anybody, and then I can’t do everything, because I’m human and it’s okay to be human Marcus, and then I do end up disappointing people, and maybe it’s better to just say No more often, and to accept that I’m not always going to be able to get back to everyone about everything, and that sometimes I actually NEED to do NOTHING because I’m a person, not a job. I’m going to treat time like a resource this year, instead of a problem to be solved.
And to that end, I want to be really mindful about how much coffee I drink this year! More water, less coffee! Coffee just makes me jittery and anxious, not wakeful, and Theophrastus always says that it’s worse to fuck up when you’re jittery than when you’re just consciously like, Yes, I want to do this thing that may not be right for me right now except for maybe that’s what makes this thing right for me right now, and I really want to be more like Theophrastus in a lot of ways, while also still being myself.
I want to spend less time worrying this year about what people think about me, and to let go of the delusion that people even are thinking about me, because maybe they aren’t! I mean yes, okay, I still have my job, I know that people have to think about the Emperor of Rome sometimes for work, but that doesn’t define me, and honestly someday there’s going to be an Emperor of Rome who isn’t me, like Pontius Laelianus’ son or Commodus or Titus or whomever. God, that’s weird to think about. But this is the year I stop allowing other people to take the present moment from me, which is my only possession, which is why I think I’m finally ready to get rid of all my furniture, like the Cynic Monimus.
So not that these are formal resolutions or anything, because I don’t want to set myself up to “fail” at something before the year has even started, because this is the year where I stop setting impossible goals for myself that go against my own nature, this is the year I really try to meet myself where I’m already at and maybe just bring myself a cup of water and a sense of acceptance. I’m just recording my thoughts without judgment.
The soul of man does violence to itself FIRST OF ALL WHEN I get angry or irritated at someone else and forget that we are all part of the same nature. So it’s not actually possible for someone to “cut me off” or “interrupt me,” so there’s no point in getting angry over it. That doesn’t mean I’m not allowed to get angry! It means I’m releasing the delusion that anger is a possibility in those moments.
SECOND OF ALL , when I turn away from any other fellow-creature, or moves toward anyone with the intention of anger. So like, why would I even eat dairy anymore? It’s not a rule I have to follow, I’m not like, officially “not eating dairy anymore” if anyone asks, I’m just going to ask myself in the moment, am I moving toward a fellow-creature in acceptance or in an attempt to dominate? and make my decision from there. Which means I probably just won’t even eat dairy anymore, but it’s not like it’s going to be a big deal.
THIRD OF ALL when I get overwhelmed by either pleasure or pain. That doesn’t mean I’m not allowed to feel things!
FOURTH OF ALL when it acts or speaks insincerely/untruly. So if I haven’t read a book and someone asks about it, I’m just going to speak the truth: “I haven’t read it.” I’m not even going to say “I haven’t read it yet,” because I don’t know if I ever will, and this is the year I stop trying to claim intention as certainty. Ahh! This is like…exciting? I know it’s a lot, obviously, but I really think I’m ready to start stepping into these habits this year.
FIFTH OF ALL when it allows any act of its own and any movement to be without an aim, and does anything thoughtlessly and without considering what it is, it being right that even the smallest things be done with reference to an end; and the end of rational animals is to follow the reason and the law of the most ancient city and polity. So like: I have handled the Costoboci and the Christians and Avidius Cassius of Syria, and I don’t have to keep worrying about them once I’ve achieved my goals. I’m leaving them all in the last year.
Some final thoughts: Of human life the time is a point, and the substance is in a flux, and the perception dull, and the composition of the whole body subject to putrefaction, and the soul a whirl, and fortune hard to divine, and fame a thing devoid of judgement. So it’s not either a good or a bad thing that I personally am extremely famous, and I need to just exist in a neutral space w/r/t my being a famous person. And, to say all in a word, everything which belongs to the body is a stream, and what belongs to the soul is a dream and vapour, and life is a warfare and a stranger's sojourn, and after-fame is oblivion.
So like: what’s left, if I choose to release (sorry, if I choose to acknowledge that I have already released) those things? Philosophy! And it’s that energy, that mind-spirit, that gods-consciousness that can keep me from from violence, separated from both pain and pleasure, hold me to my purpose, not worrying about what C. Avidius Cassius is doing or what Martius Verus is doing but what Marcus Aurelius is doing, accepting everything that happens as coming from the same source that I myself come from, whatever that is, and waiting for death with a cheerful mind and not compulsively buying more books to distract myself. Because even if I quit my job tomorrow and just started reading full time, there’s no way I would ever finish! I have bought my last book. I accept that. So death is just a dissolution of the elements that every living being is made of, and elements are always changing, so why should I be afraid to change again? Because that’s just life, and nature, and nothing is evil which is in harmony with life, so it straight up does not matter whether or not Matidia’s will includes me or not, or how heavy the denarius is or isn’t, or whatever. Even if I never read another book, I’m still a person.
This in Carnuntum. Anyways, I’m probably going to delete this, lol.