I recall reading Benjamin Franklin’s Autobiography years ago. One of the memorable chapters in that book dealt with Ben’s desire for self-improvement. I can’t remember the details, but he had something like a “10 point plan” based on the cultivation of what he termed “virtues.”
I don’t know if my recent lifestyle tweeks are particularly virtuous, but I’ve recently altered some heretofore lifelong patterns, maybe better labeled habits, the eradication of which suggests the potential for modest self-improvement. I certainly feel more virtuous as a result of the alterations, at any rate. Here are my changes:
First aspect of change: I stopped wearing a wrist watch. Why keep up with time on my wrist? The hour of the day is constantly before me: in my pocket (the iPhone), on the car dash, on digital displays in every hallway of every building where I work. And besides, this summer I won’t have the reverse suntan shadow in the shape of a watch about my wrist and I’ll save $20 or $30 replacing the last wrist watch that was beginning to show signs of demise.
Second aspect of change: I abandoned my pocket ink pen. All my life since college, an ink pen in the shirt pocket was wardrobe. This alteration was influenced by the ruin of three favorite dress shirts in recent years due to leaky pen incidents. Lately, I’ve modified my practice to carry a pen clipped to a notebook or folder rather than clipped in my shirt pocket, and then only if I think I’ll need the pen. How many days, in my former life, did I pocket a pen from breakfast to supper yet never etched a word?
Up until these past several weeks, I’d have felt naked leaving the house without a watch on my wrist and a pen in my pocket. I’m not sure from what source arose the inspiration or the moral courage to alter these habits, but as a result, I feel refreshed, liberated, . . . improved!
Vive le new day!