My ears have also been trained to fear silence. I have filled out every free moment of my day with podcasts, audiobooks, and music. Comedy, news, science, philosophy, law. So packed is my day that I struggle to find time for anything else. If they didn’t know better, people might it as my second job. Even in public, I bring my headphones in order to listen to my audio. Is silence so bad?
I also have other vices. As I sit at the kitchen bar, my stomach bulges from the Indian dinner of vegan tikka masala, jasmine rice and naan. I also spend more than 12 hours a day in front of a computer screen. Somehow, I find comfort in writing on a computer screen while bemoaning my 10+ hours of work on just such a screen.
The smaller, mobile screen is also a constant companion. My mind and my fingers constantly pull me to Twitter. Facebook more-or-less has lost its shimmer, but the continued outrage, adorable photos, and interaction with strangers keeps me returning to the blue bird. Yet I do not create or engage with any meaningful content. Instead, it is usually the physical task that I busy myself with as I listen to various podcasts. With no effort at all, my screen time increases.
For many years, I smoked hookah, though I quit this habit. I no longer have the constitution to sit at the end of a hookah hose for hours on end. Desperate for an escape and for a late-night get-together, many fond memories were spent smoking hookah with friends in college, the only place in town open past 10 pm. That habit has died as the need to be out late has evaporated, taking with it friends, smoke, and companionship.
Yet I don’t want you to pity me for my bad habits. I also contain virtuous ones. I am a consistent reader, always hoping to explore my horizons through philosophy, literature, and fiction. I also can be a kind ear for those struggling with life. My friends, or at least those individuals who used to go by that moniker, would consider me intellectual, though hopefully not pretentious. I also meditate on many evenings or mornings to center myself and clear my mind. I try my best to pursue kindness, although I often fail when the task is asked on Twitter. I try never to judge someone too harshly, though again I often fail when I pass a house with a Trump flag. I use writing to process my poor habits, and reflect on how I can be better.
Perhaps few good habits are enough to redeem the one’s flaws. Perhaps working to cultivate the good while reducing the reliance on the flaws is exactly what life requires of us.