Seneca, Moral Epistles 58.32-34
“Frugality can bring about old age which, I suppose, shouldn’t be desired any more than it is refused. There’s pleasure in spending as much time with oneself as possible, when you’ve made yourself worthy of enjoying. The point then on which we should make our judgment is whether we should seek out the final stages and not await the end, or make it happen. Someone who waits for their fate slowly is like one who is afraid, as if a bit of a drunkard who drains a full jar and slurps up the dregs too.
But we should nevertheless still ask about this too: “Is the last part of life the dregs, or is it the clearest and purest of all, provided that the mind is free of injury and the senses give their support to the body and the body is not tired or too close to death?” Oh, there’s a big difference between someone extending their life and putting off their death.
But if the body is not useful for its tasks, why should we free its laboring spirit? Well, maybe we should do this just a bit before we must lest we lose the ability to do it. Since the danger of living poorly is greater than the danger of dying quickly, then someone who refuses to wager a small bit of time for great profit is a fool.”
Potest frugalitas producere senectutem, quam ut non puto concupiscendam, ita ne recusandam quidem. Iucundum est secum esse quam diutissime, cum quis se dignum, quo frueretur, effecit. Itaque de isto feremus sententiam, an oporteat fastidire senectutis extrema et finem non opperiri, sed manu facere. Prope est a timente, qui fatum segnis expectat, sicut ille ultra modum deditus vino est, qui amphoram exiccat et faecem quoque exorbet. De hoc tamen quaeremus, pars summa vitae utrum faex sit an liquidissimum ac purissimum quiddam, si modo mens sine iniuria est et integri sensus animum iuvant nec defectum et praemortuum corpus est.
Plurimum enim refert, vitam aliquis extendat an mortem. At si inutile ministeriis corpus est, quidni oporteat educere animum laborantem? Et fortasse paulo ante quam debet, faciendum est, ne cum fieri debebit, facere non possis. Et cum maius periculum sit male vivendi quam cito moriendi, stultus est, qui non exigua temporis mercede magnae rei aleam redimit.