From Alexander the Platonist: rarely, and never without essential cause, to say or write to anyone that ‘I am too busy’; nor to use a similar excuse, advancing ‘pressure of circumstances’ in constant avoidance of the proprieties inherent in our relations to our fellows and contemporaries
– Aurelius, Meditations, 1:12
Alexander the Platonist was for a time Marcus’s secretary, and man his advice hits close to home. How often do I use the “too busy” excuse? Probably once a week. But here’s the thing, often, if not always, I am too busy.
I imagine running the largest empire the world have ever seen kept Marcus pretty busy as well. So what is he trying to tell himself here? That he should say yes to more dinner invitations? Or instead, is he asking himself to be thoughtful in his responses, to reflect before pushing others away, to be present enough in his decisions to not act rashly in his treatment of others.
Seems to me it is the later, which is difficult enough.