Living Well

Marcus Aurelius once said,

“Wherever it is possible to live, it is possible to live well”.

Meaning that no matter how adverse the environment surround us, it is still possible for us to live with respect and dignity for ourselves and those around us.

For those of us who are incarcerated, it is tempting to want to give in to despair, to cease striving to better yourself, to think it’s no use even trying. For many, after a few years in prison, a feeling of extreme powerlessness often sets in. It just goes with the territory.

But we need not (and should not) use our circumstances as an excuse to mistreat others, or withhold our compassion, or give up on self-improvement. In fact, adverse circumstances should make us even more aware of the need for self-improvement, the need to love our fellow man.

Living well despite circumstances - Spencer Adams

For though we may be unable to change the world in our present state of confinement, we at least can strive to improve out own little corner of that world, to spur ourselves on continually onward and upward in our never ending quest to do better and be better.

Even if the rewards are are few.

In prison, where the brevity of life (if we but open our eyes) is so apparent, we are daily reminded of the transience of all things; of the supreme value of small moments, the priceless nature of kindness for kindness sake. When we fully realize how short is our span of time on this earth, we can begin to understand how absurd is the grasping after luxury, after fine clothes, and bling. There’s nothing like a decade behind bars to awaken a man to the joys of simplicity, the rewards of living with less, of living in harmony with nature.

A good book. A sunset. A few good friends. A freshly grown tomato. A full moon. A small bonfire. Good conversation.

And most important, someone to share it all with. So whether you live in a prison, a ten-million-dollar mansion, or a small, one-room cabin back in the woods, it’s possible to live well.