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Perfect Day

I’ve been using Habitica for a couple of years now, using it mostly as an online tracker for my to-do list. On my daily schedule is a long list of things that I try to accomplish every day in addition to my actual to-do list. Here’s what it typically looks like:

  • leave the house
  • wipe down ginger
  • walk / play with dogs
  • Read
  • take pill
  • Floss at night
  • Write
  • Meditate
  • exercise
  • empty inbox
  • Track food
  • chores

Yesterday, including a few dailies that only appear once a week or so (cleaning the dogs’ teeth, etc.), I managed to get them all done. It felt good. What struck me, though, is how much I put on myself to achieve every day. Now, these dailies are primarily reminders to take care of myself. I don’t tend to forget them; however, because there are so many days — virtually, all of them — on which I achieve less than 100% of these tasks, I tend to feel bad about myself.

I mean, all I have to do is a few dishes or take out the garbage to get the chores check mark. Since I tend to poop every day, the reading is taken care of. I take it as a point of pride that I consistently have an empty inbox; I translate any necessary action from email into my to-do list, rather than leave it sitting there blinking at me. Getting into the habit of tracking food happened back when I was  bodybuilding, so it’s easy enough. Not taking my pill rapidly results in suicidal thoughts, so that one maintains its life or death urgency, without hyperbole.

There are a few I often miss, however, when I need them the most: exercise, write, meditate, leave the house, walk/play with the dogs. Walking the dogs is a hat trick. I get three-in-one. And yet, I find myself making excuses for that simple twenty minutes. Granted, our dogs lack discipline and more than once have nipped at humans or fought with other dogs, so a good deal of anxiety accompanies that task.

I’m often caught between two philosophies. Contemporary wisdom points to an almost self-congratulatory forgiveness; that is, if I give myself a break, I’m meant to take that as a thoughtful and healthy practice. I find myself at my happiest, however, when I push myself to work harder. Right now, fight directing Animal Farm, I over-identify with Boxer and Clover. Arbeit Macht Frei.

Now that I have put myself back on the path of completing all my self-work and any tasks possible before noon, my interest in video games wanes. Still, it took quite some mustering, hemming, and hawing to get myself to write even this pointless self-examination. But really, what else is there?

My therapist suggests that I explore an Epicurean path: reduce conflict, emphasize joy. Since my time with BIG, I have always adhered to our motto of “Practice Responsible Hedonism,” so perhaps that will work for me. My meditations have helped me connect with the world, but my particular brand of epicureanism demands disconnection. Hell is other people, as they say, and since connection, true connection, flees in the face of socialization, I struggle to sense joy rather than conflict.

Filed under: Ennui | | Comments Off on Perfect Day

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