Stop Monkeying Around

“Enough of this miserable, whining life. Stop monkeying around! why are you troubled? What’s new here? What’s so confounding? The one responsible? Take a good look. Or just the matter itself? Then look at that. There’s nothing else to look at. And as far as the gods go, by now you could try being more straightforward and kinder. It’s the same, whether you’ve examined these things for a hundred years, or only three.”

  • Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

“Character,” Joan Didion would write in one of her best essays, “the willingness to accept responsibility for one’s own life-is the source from which self-respect springs.”

Marcus is urging us not to waste time complaining about what we haven’t got or how things have worked out. We have to quit monkeying around and be the owners of our own lives. Character can be developed, and when it is, self-respect will ensue. But that means starting and getting serious about it. Not later, not after certain questions have been answered or distractions dealt with, but now. Right now. Taking responsibility is the first step.

To be without this character is the worst of all fates. As Didion put it in “On self-respect, “To live without self-respect is to lie awake some night, beyond the reach of warm milk, the phenobarbital, and the sleeping hand on the coverlet, counting up the sins of commission and omission, the trusts betrayed, the promises subtly broken, the gifts irrevocably wasted through sloth or cowardice or carelessness.”

You’re so much better than that.

One response to “Stop Monkeying Around”

  1. Zuha Avatar

    Awwwsomee !!

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