It now marks 47 days that I have been writing these blogposts. I can’t say that they’ve all been riveting or particularly interesting, but they certainly help me mark the time.
And I’ve heard from a few people that they are useful to provide some sort of routine to the day. In a time of chaos, I think a little routine can go an awfully long way.
I’m doing a little better today.
I’ve been thinking a lot recently about what characterizes a “good life”. And when I die, if I will be able to say that had one.
Most of the time I can answer yes to that for the simple reason that I generally do what I believe to be is right. Which leads into a whole different moral quandary about what counts as “right”, but we’ll leave that for today.
In general, I’ve tried to live according to a few simple principles:
- Treat others with compassion.
- Behave with integrity (by which I mean listening to my internal sensibilities and acting accordingly).
- Don’t let fear prevent action.
I mean none of those could be called straightforward. I’m sure there are plenty of books about each of them. But generally these are my standards.
For me stems from a combination of being raised by both a Christian and an atheist and being raised to love the natural world.
Although I have now moved away from the realm of Christianity and have a much different take on deism as a whole, I kept the idea of love as a radical and powerful concept. I retained the thought that love is meant to be a transgressive action. I also took with me an admiration for the power of creation myths and myths in general.
From atheism, I took the precept that everything deserves to be questioned. This has lead me to the brink of exhaustion on many occasions, but I also hope it has lead me to a path of greater understanding and better respect for alternate perspectives. I know that my way of seeing the world is only one view. There are as many other perspectives as there are people on this planet.
Perhaps most importantly, I learned from a young age that I get my strength from the natural world. My favorite place to be as a child was outside. Whether sitting in trees in our backyard or walking to the nature center and watching the geese on the pond, I knew that the natural world held answers for me that human society did not. But conversely, the more time I spent communing with nature the more kind and patient I could be when I returned to human companionship.
That has been one of the most difficult parts of living in Oakland. I feel cut off from the natural world. I know that people with cars have a lot more access to the natural beauty of California. But I am not possessed of a motorized vehicle. So that has not been my experience.
I still take strength from the stars and the trees and the birds in the neighborhood. And from Scout, of course.
I think I have led a good life so far. It hasn’t been particularly flashy, but I feel that I am working every day to become a better, kinder person and I am happy about that.
So, after this little self-congratulatory blogpost, I will sign off for the evening.
Hope you all are well and living a life that you are happy with.