Many of my friends are aware that I was once a Philosophy of Religion major. Some are not. I thought this a noble pursuit at the time: many still do. Trust that it was not the case. This is often a wonderful undertaking. It is beautiful: there are multiple uses. From PhD’s at universities to legal courtrooms, etc. The philosophical avenue of critical thinking comes largely into play during many of our daily pursuits. My reason for attempting to break into the philosophical realm was merely a vainglorious attempt to think my way out of misery. I believed that, somehow, I could simply learn the answer to life from a philosophical essay. That my problems would be magically fixed at 8:14 a.m. while I sat sipping lukewarm coffee in a plastic desk. I believed a lifetime of mental illness, substance abuse, eating disorders, and suicidality would disappear if only I could think my way better.
At this point in my life, I can clearly see how this major was a whistle in the dark. An attempt to think myself out of a bad situation. It was also an excuse. Trying to make myself feel better about my penchant to overthink. I tried to convince myself that great philosophers were often madmen who were often severely intoxicated. I believed that I would sit amongst the greats. Clearly: these philosophers are not typical, however, they were (not surprisingly) my role models. It is true that a person must put their thoughts into action. This was not something I was willing to do at this age.
I still often draw on my philosophical roots for comfort, yet for different reasons. I no longer allow myself room for negative influences. Many people know that much of my current life is completely based on Stoic philosophy. I am particularly fond of Epictetus. The following is the basic idea behind Stoicism as well as a brief history and works of Epictetus: