Day Thirty-One: Maintaining Bad Habits

Bad habits are important. Important to manage, yes, but also in a way important to have.

I need to feel like I’ve got some sort of unvirtuous outlet. It’s just how I’m wired. Not like getting in bar fights or whatever, but I’m configured to look for ways to rebel in small senses. Even against myself.

Trying to live a better life doesn’t mean killing yourself to live a perfect life — I’ve cut out booze, a lot of bad food, and I’m exercising every weekday. That’s pretty damn good. I’m already mostly vegan, with occasional lapses. That’s pretty good too.

But I also need things that are not-good in the mix.

Bad habits I’m maintaining

  • Coffee. Probably not that bad for me, but not great either. I drink too much of it. Definitely a dependency.
  • Video games. And not, like, deep-thinking “I’m learning things” video games. Straight up time-wasters.
  • Netflix binging. Not great documentaries, or whatever — British crime shows, American melodrama, Japanese anime from time to time.
  • Comic books. I still read ’em. Sometimes high-minded stuff, yes, but often just garbage from the ’80s I get in anthologies from the library.

All of these things fall into a mild category of “being not great”; I know there are better things to be doing with my life, and my time, and my consumption. But I like to have some outlets where I feel like I haven’t become the world’s grimmest ascetic.

There’s been mention, and probably a whole bunch of future podcasts, about my ongoing inability to identify “fun” activities versus different types of work. I’m sure this isn’t just a problem I have. I need to unpack that a bit.

For now, I need to have some sort of substantive narrative, even if it’s just in my own head, about ‘badness’. It’s psychologically important to me to position myself as somebody with a rebellious streak. Even if it’s a pretty pathetic kind of rebellion, by most standards, I still need to have it in there.

To be continued, I guess…