A Stoic Course: Introduction

My mom and I are taking a free course on Stoicism together and one of the objectives is to try and teach a friend or family member (who isn’t taking the course) some of the principles we learn. The rest of my family isn’t really interested and neither are my friends. So, I’ll be using my blog instead. Comments are greatly encouraged.

Introduction: Philosophy as a way of Life

Assignment: Read and discuss Seneca Letter 48. 7-8 Starting at “Would you really know what philosophy offers to humanity…” write a list of things that are troubling you.

My main troubles boil down to money, relationships, and time management.

  1. Money- Paying bills, paying tuition, avoiding costly self indulgences, paying for upkeep of my dog
  2. Relationships- Falling out with old friends, difficulty making new friends, relationships with coworkers, Family, extended family, pet responsibilties
  3. Time management of all of the above and needed mental health time

The biggest chunk of that is relationships.

I’ve lost touch with most of my old friends from school and I’ve actually always had difficulty making new friends. My best friend from school actually approached me and brought her friend group with her and I basically lost touch with all those folks when we went out separate ways after college. I still see her occasionally at my work, but her mom is openly transphobic and I’m not comfortable staying friends because of that. I didn’t know until really recently that her mom was so blantanly transphobic and I’m agender soooooo….

My coworkers can basically be broken up into gamers, partiers, and married. I have standing invites to hang out with the gamers and the partiers, but I don’t do the club/binge drinking thing and I can’t stay up until four in the morning playing games like I used to. Most of my coworkers who are my age are married and I’m an aromantic-asexual so I’m basically a permanent 3rd wheel. I really do need to be more social because it’s healthy and would help some of my above friend problem, but I’m not really sure how to go about it. Also, the logistics of our work prevents everyone from being available for gatherings at the exact same time. I have made it a New Year’s resolution to hang out with at least one coworker outside of work.

I’m really close to my immediate family, but I don’t know hardly any of my extended family like my aunts, uncles, cousins, second cousins, etc… Part of that is time and distance, but also family politics. I would like to get to know some of my extended family beyond that I have some somewhere. And I would need a whole other blog post to cover my immediate family.

For the course I’m supposed to keep track of this list of troubles and note any progress made along the way.

Lastly, the objective for the next month is “observation”- I’m supposed to keep a journal reflecting on automatic responses (fear, embarrassment, frustration, etc…), note the stimuli, note my habitual reaction and the undesirable consequences. For example, yesterday I got into a disagreement with my dad. I was reacting with anger and embarrassment and I ended up lashing out verbally trying to push blame onto him (it’s a technique my mom uses all the time too). The undesirable consequence was we both became upset and I felt guilty the rest of the day. It really was a dumb argument and could have been avoided. Hopefully taking this course will help me avoid similar situations in the future or help me deal with similar situations with more clarity and grace.


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