If there was wisdom in continually improving the life you lead, there was grace in indulging in what you have made. To cook a good pasta was not enough; you had to savour all the hard work. It was the most important thing. You must sit down, relax and eat it properly. The dishes can wait; the shelf can stay dirty for a little while. Too much of life is spent on making it good; too little is spent living it, drowning in it. You must stop for a second and look at what you have made, even if it is nothing but a cup of coffee. There is no difference between freedom in owning a yacht or making yourself a cup of coffee. Freedom is nothing but the allowance to savour the moment. To look at the same stale view you see every morning with the same curiosity and awe you show on vacation was the way to go about living. To allow ourselves to pause and to look around was the only rebellion any of us needed.
No one will ever be as young as they are now; that has to count for something. I will never be this person again. I started changing when I began writing these words, for better or worse. But the fruits of our labour are sweet; we must stop to bite hard into their soft flesh. To be human was to be a slave to time; there was no greater tyrant in this world. We had to look it in the eye and tell it: no. The art of living a good life was in not waiting for the masterpiece but working like a maestro; it was to finish a painting, then paint over it, and change some things again and again. Da Vinci never completed the Mona Lisa, but something tells me he looked at it over and over, between iterations. He did it for years, and he still loved it. He loved it to the point of endless iteration, endless obsession with making it better, but he loved it, and unlike other works which were left to his studio, the Mona Lisa was almost always with him.
There is no bigger masterpiece. No philosophy is greater than living life to keep working on making it better, and yet, looking at it in awe, exclaiming, “look what I made, look what I’ve done, look, look, this life, this life now in this very moment is my magnum opus, everything else pales in comparison.”