To believe you are magnificent. And gradually to discover that you are not magnificent. Enough labor for one human life.
This is one of the pieces (in its entirety) from Road-side Dog (1998) by Czeslaw Milosz. When I come upon something as full of wisdom as this, I think: "I wish that I had read this 20 (or 30 or 40) years ago." But, there is always the necessary follow-up question: would reading it then have changed anything?