|Adrift at sea but on solid rock|
Virtue, then, is the better mark for our aim. If we seek the highest pleasure of living well we must hold virtue to be the means as well as the ultimate goal. This is similar to the advice, if you seek to be loved, you must love; to have a friend you must be a friend. What place do other things like wealth, family, and possessions play in our lives? Are they good things in themselves? Look at it this way, can wealth be used for evil as well as good? Can family members be toxic as well as loving? Then these things are not good in themselves, but only when handled with virtue.
And here we have arrived at a very preliminary understanding of Stoicism. Virtue is the only good; while other things like wealth and possessions might be preferred, compared to virtue they are indifferent. In every situation we have the ability to practice the appropriate virtue of wisdom, courage, justice, simplicity, and so on. With the correct understanding, our actions are not forced or in spite of our desires, but ingrained and performed joyfully. This, as I understand it, is the best life possible.