It wasn’t until quite recently that I’ve come to understand that my outlook on life is very typical of Stoicism. To be clear, I haven’t studied Stoicism deeply. My understanding of the topic would be quite basic, but the concepts are certainly familiar to me. Premeditatio Malorum, for example, is a practice I explore quite frequently. I’ve always thought of scenarios which I’ve lost things I consider precious, or situations that far exceed my comfort. Some consider this to be nihilistic, and discourage me from doing so, however, I find the practice as liberating. The exercise is wonderful for mental fortitude as well as deeper analysis of the consequences of your actions. I tell myself that by imagining the worst case scenarios, I can save myself from them in a way. Not so much as tempting fate, rather to prepare myself for a time where that eventuality is no longer avoidable. To imagine, experience then accept my role in a situation. To be able to look at a situation rationally, accept the role you play, and then move past it is wonderful. As an example, recently where I’m from there had been protests. I’m sure with the current state of affairs this isn’t at all surprising. There was to be a demonstration in the evening about 15 minutes from where I live, before this happened there was an incident at my home. My father had answered a knock on our door where he was physically assaulted by a young African American male. My father yelled out for me, and the young man was quite surprised by my presence as I don’t interact often with our neighbors. Being 75 years old any injury can be dire. Especially blows to the head. I placed myself in between this young man and my father while this individual hurled insults to both myself and my father. He very clearly indicated that the cause of the violence was because of our skin color. I felt no hate, not desire to harm this young man. I don’t know his circumstances nor what could possibly cause him to desire harm on an elderly man. These things had already come to pass and were beyond my control. All I could do now was control myself in this situation and stand firm. I would not engage this young man nor would I stand down and allow him his way. I stood there for minutes are he said his peace. I felt no anger, because I’ve never known this person and his words held no weight for me. They fled the area in a vehicle and I copied their license plate and gave it to the authorities. Some asked why I hadn’t engaged this young man, why I didn’t do more to defend my father. I felt that there had already been enough violence, I wouldn’t allow myself to be brought low and harm another unnecessarily. I love my father and my family, it would have done more harm for them had I engaged and become injured, or if some other unfortunate outcome had come to pass. The surprise in the young mans eyes and the loss of will to fight was clear in his eyes. The words he spoke and the language of his body certainly didn’t match. There was absolutely no reason to engage any further. I certainly didn’t want to become some sort of pariah, and the young man didn’t seem interested in the fight any longer. All things considered, it ended rather well. I felt secure that I was able to work my way through the situation rationally. I certainly plan to study Stoicism further. I think in these uncertain times it could be a positive way to get through things.

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