It is not that we have a short time to live, but that we waste a lot of it.
People are frugal in guarding their personal property; but as soon as it comes to squandering time they are most wasteful of the one thing in which it is right to be stingy.
You will hear people saying: ‘When I am fifty I shall retire into leisure; when I am sixty I shall give up public duties.’ And what guarantee do you have of a longer life? Who will allow your course to proceed as you arrange it?… How late it is to begin really to live just when life must end! How stupid to forget our mortality, and put off sensible plans to our fiftieth and sixtieth years, aiming to begin life from a point at which few have arrived!
Believe me, it is the sign of a great man, and one who is above human error, not to allow his time to be frittered away: he has the longest possible life simply because whatever time was available he devoted entirely to himself.
But the man who spends all his time on his own needs, who organizes every day as though it were his last, neither longs for nor fears the next day.
So it is inevitable that life will not be just very short but very miserable for those who acquire by great toil what they must keep by greater toil. They will achieve what they want laboriously; they possess what they have achieved anxiously; and meanwhile they take no account of time that will never more return.