balance culture health & happiness

Daily rituals

January 10, 2022
a person sitting on wooden planks across the lake scenery
Photo by S Migaj on

I’ve been thinking a lot about Elizabeth Holmes‘s self-imposed daily schedule. The reporting around it seems to imply that it’s crazy, too rigid, but this is the same exacting schedule that every “successful” celebrity publishes. “Michelle Obama rises at 4:30 a.m. to workout!” (P.S. 4:00 a.m. isn’t that early if you go to bed by 9:00 p.m.) I think her daily plan and comportment guidelines are pretty great, actually. Is it surprising that she got as far as she did? Nope. It’s too bad that she didn’t actually do what she said she was doing, but she implicitly knew how to play the part of a successful start-up billionaire. She would’ve been an amazing actress.

But isn’t a life built on the things you do every day? Incremental steps toward … whatever. Because in essence, life is mundane. The media, social media, our culture writ large tells us that life should never be boring. We should have fun and be happy all the freaking time. It’s no wonder we’re all so depressed because it’s not humanly possible. Our expectations are too high. Yes, of course, as Americans, we have the right to the pursuit of happiness, but as the immature society we are, we seem to have no ability to delay gratification. We want New! Bigger! Better! Sexier! when we want it, and for most people that is right now.

Maybe time is really the secret. Like Andy Dufresne, we’re going to have to Shawshank our way to wherever it is we want to go, one pocketful of dirt at a time.

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