This week I wanted to share one of my favourite episodes with you from the archives. It’s a chat I had with William B. Irvine back in 2021, who is one of the world’s leading thinkers on stoic philosophy.
Bill is professor of philosophy at Wright State University, The author of several books, many of which help you navigate the this thing called the human condition, including my favourite: A Guide to the Good Life.
If you’re not sure what stoicism might have to do with parenting, I reckon it’s one of the best things you can do as a parent to stay sane. There are many different mental tools the stoics developed to help live what they termed ‘a good life’.
One of the tools Bill describes is the Last Time Meditation which is really useful in practicing gratitude. You never know when the last time of anything is going to happen, but you know, for a fact, that there will be a last time. Occasionally reflecting on this can help you reframe something that you might usually find a hassle or complain about (like changing nappies, or a messy house) because one day you may well miss that very same thing dearly (well, maybe not nappies, but you get the idea).
So these are the good old days. You may not know it now, but someday you will
A really interesting point Bill makes is that you can learn enough about stoicism in a weekend to make a drastic difference in your life. So if you haven’t come across stoicism yet, or maybe given it a go but it didn’t quite click, I strongly urge you to have a listen to Bill, you won’t regret it.
I hope you take as much away from this chat with Bill as I did.