Knowing that “we’re doing our best at any given moment”- and yet we want to do better. We want to be better, to be perfect, basically. At the same time, we are afraid of perfection- because once you achieve it for a minute, or a day, or a month, you begin holding yourself to an immaculate standard all the time.
Why not relax?
Why not praise ourselves for good choices, and forgive mistakes?
This relaxed, flexible, confident approach to progress is the only approach that leads to actual progress. The other approach leads to shame… and to more failure.
After I began cutting myself some slack- as I would others- I became happier. I began achieving my goals.
Either you go on living here, to which custom has sufficiently seasoned you by now; or you remove elsewhere, which you do of your own free election; or you die, which means that your service is at an end. Other choice there can be none; so put a good face on it.
I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms.
-Henry David Thoreau
I find meaning by living in accordance with nature. Nature gave me life. It wants me to live- it’s rooting for me.
Evidence of this is seen simply within my body: my heart, my breath, my blood…they are all working as a unit, for me to survive. My meaning and my objective is to live a fulfilling, happy life and to die humbly and graciously, thankful for the opportunity to witness something so beautiful and complex.
Some days I’m unsure whether I should accept circumstances- or fight them. Is it time to give up on living ten lives? And instead live one or two?
So many places I want to go. So many jobs I want to master. So many lifestyles left unexplored. Physicist, biologist, anthropologist, animal conservationist, science teacher, book writer, travel writer…when is it time to give up? Or do I keep barraging myself? Criticizing myself for not being able to make definite progress in any one field. Instead, feeding all interests, simultaneously, ineffectively.
Why is there a burning inside me? One that won’t go away unless I’m fantasizing about the day that I have achieved all these goals?
I don’t want to give up… I want to fight. How much longer will I be able to fight, I wonder.
1) Their facebook-loving, no-child-left-behind, everyone-is-included, attitude towards their peers. Even towards strangers. I’ve never been around a community in which nearly every person in that community is eager to welcome you into his/her social circle; few people are looking for power or looking to stand out among the crowd- especially at the expense of others feeling uncomfortable or alone.
2) How they cook their street food: immediately, outside, on the spot, right in front of you so you can watch how they make it from scratch. All fruits and vegetables are fresh and bought day-of to sell. All meat is bought that same morning- and animals are even killed that same morning, right in front of everyone.
3) Their night-life… I mean, bars/ clubs don’t close till 5, 6 a.m. You could say I fully exercised my new rights.
4) How easy-going and laid back their culture is. No one appears to give a fuck really. Noted, this is in Tainan, which is populated by 99.9% locals. But everyone seems to be accepting of a lifestyle that consists of chilling, managing the store, doing some Tai Chi.
I believe this largely contributes to the fact that I see 80, 90 year old people on their mopeds, walking the streets, still going strong. I saw so many elderly people that I felt sad comparing this reality to the reality in the U.S.
5) How cheap their food is. On average I paid $1-3$ for every meal bought on the street. And I’m talking good-sized, I’m too full to eat anymore, meals. Living in Taiwan felt like my mom was cooking on every street corner, and I could just go up, pay $1 cause she loves me, and she’ll provide me with a home-cooked, yummy dish- except in this case, I had no idea what I was eating half the time.
Still tasted amazing.
6) Dumplings. I think I would go back just for the Dumplings…sad but true.