Allowing ourselves to be imperfect

I thought the limited time I have left would somehow make me wiser, that it would focus my life like a lens and force me to confront only that which was essential. But that has not yet turned out to be the case. That turned out to be just a metaphor I made up.

I still watch bad TV. I still read about the American election. And I still get angry about things. Here’s a short list of things I’ve been angry about over the last few weeks:

  • The Republicans blocking Obama’s Supreme Court nomination.
  • The rise of Donald Trump
  • The rise of Ted Cruz
  • My mom giving me unsound advice about nutritional supplements and alternative medicines.

Notice that this is not a list of things I should be angry about, or things I would rather to be angry about. I would rather be angry about unnecessary poverty, children dying of malnutrition and curable diseases, continued racism and sexism. (Maybe that last one is captured in my anger about Trump and Cruz, whose words are so abhorrent, I am unwilling to think through exactly what is wrong with them.) And maybe wiser not to be angry at all.

But one thing is clear: what I’ve been angry about ≠ what is sensible to be angry about. And that is old hat.

Having less time to do something ought to mean that you try to spend less time on the trivial. But I’ve been spending more time on the trivial – doing crossword puzzles, reading silly articles in the New York Times, reading reviews of movies I will not likely watch, and worst of all, watching interviews of celebrities on YouTube. And some of my better habits have fallen away: reading and writing philosophy everyday, meditating everyday, exercising three times a week, going to bed at appropriate times, etc.

I guess we have to allow ourselves some imperfection. I am however proud to say that I still floss everyday.

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