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This post is part of my 2022 Word Project. You can read what that’s about here.

Sunday, October 22, 2023

Be better.

That’s what I wrote on my count up/countdown board two days ago. I’m working on improving myself. A lifetime slog.

Be a nicer person, a more thoughtful person, a more patient person. Get more done. Stress less, enjoy more, rush less, notice more.

Be imperfect.

That’s what I wrote on my board today.

I’m working on not obsessing about improving myself.

Still, it’s a worthy pursuit and I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately. After one particularly annoying day last week, I suddenly needed to remind myself of what I was doing right instead of what had gone wrong. So I popped out my little green journal and wrote down Things I Did Well.

It was a short list. But it was there, in words, proving that I had done something worthy.

Then I wrote down Things To Improve.

It was a longer list. It is still being written. Somehow there always seem to be more things to fix than not.

The next day I added to both lists. It was satisfying to list my accomplishments, however minute, even if it was only didn’t fly off handle when rice splatted on floor. Yes, that happened again. Don’t ask.

It was even satisfying to look at what I want to improve, because none of it involves technology, which lately is the one thing I can’t get far away from fast enough.

So I started improving. I got a thing done that was sitting there not magically getting done by elves. I did another thing I wanted to do that I’ve been putting off for… some other better time but not now. I was a friend to someone who needed it and didn’t think about myself at all.

This count up/countdown board has me a little wired. I mean, nothing is really happening in 232 days, but the act of writing these little aspirations and affirmations, on a deadline, has definitely had a psychological impact. It’s making me wonder why I’m doing certain things and not others. It has sharpened my relationship with time.

You can’t make time. You can’t find it. You can’t save it. You get the same amount, every day. So what I’m really thinking about is how to be better at spending it.

Some of that involves improving myself. As the saying goes, wherever you go, there you are. Do I want to be with this person in the limited time I have left on this earth? If I wasn’t stuck with myself, would I even like myself?

Some of that involves improving what I insert into any given moment. Is this what I want to be doing with the limited time I have left on this earth? I mean, if it’s cleaning up rice off the floor, then… no. But there are enough other moments that it’s worth thinking about.

I sat down with my little green journal tonight and made two lists. One, of things I did well today. There were more than usual. The other, of things to improve. I left it blank. Tomorrow there will be more things, but for today, imperfection was enough.

Photo: tonight’s table of Good Things.