At the beginning of this journey towards moral perfection, I chose five virtues that I wished to strive for: Tranquility, Moderation, Order, Patience, and Joy. These virtues were chosen with special care in order to allow myself some grace and peace within my life. Tranquillity, Patience, and Joy were specially to help me with this practice. Moderation and Order were to enhance my life through organization and scheduling events and time so that I could figure out where I was the most productive and fulfilled. While all of these I have deemed important, Joy is truly the one I hoped would improve. I found that along the way, working on all of my virtues led me to find joy more easily. So, while all of them are each valuable in their own way, Joy was the one that I thought would enhance my life the most. I feel as if I have contributed more of myself to my family and friends while doing this project. I have been overall a more positive person and I think that it shows in my daily interactions. I hope that while this process is now over, I will continue to improve and keep my optimistic personality alive so that I spread more joy to myself and others around me.
I struggled with Order the most. I selected this virtue because I am not the most organized person when it comes to spaces and items. It is important to me to improve this because when I go into my bedroom, it often reminds me of stress and chaos with the state it is in. I truly believe that when my room is cleaner, I am calmer and am able to relax in it more. I have a hard time starting to clean when I have put it off for so long. Because it is not the most thrilling task, I often don’t make time to do it. To overcome this feeling, I want to continuously put away any items that I use right after I am done using them so that they don’t pile up into a big heap of stress. I am going to continue to work on this virtue because I believe that it will make me feel consistently better if I keep my room organized and clean.
Throughout this process, I have been mostly successful on all of my virtues, minus Order, but the one that stands out the most is Joy. The benefits of this virtue are pretty simple and easily comprehensible. When I feel the happiest, I am truly myself and my life seems so much more vibrant. It’s almost like seeing color for the first time. Of course I have been joyful in prior years, but at this point in my life, I have found myself and found who I want to surround myself with. Through this journey, I have taken note of all of the things that have brought me the most joy every day, to try and find the patterns and continue to do more of what makes me feel fulfilled. I have found two things: I don’t always find joy from expected places and when I am with my friends and family, it’s hard to feel anything but warmth and bliss. All in all, this has really helped and changed the way I look at ordinary things and events and has made me much happier.
Continuing to work on these virtues will help make my life better in many ways. For one, it will relieve a lot of stress and make me a much calmer person. It will also help me take a step back and enjoy what is right in front of me before looking ahead too far into the future. I hope to come back to these methods as often as I am able because these past two weeks have been significantly better as compared to previous ones. In response to Benjamin Franklin’s “Speckled Ax” essay, I understand and agree with the fact that sometimes perfection doesn’t have to be reached. And often–actually in all cases–it never is. However, I also don’t believe in settling for anything less than who you want to be. Our flaws make us special and unique, and marks and scratches on our surfaces are inevitable, but trying to smooth the edges makes the blade of our lives even brighter. While my ax still has rust on it, I accept it and will continue to enhance my virtues so that I can make my life even more shiny. If I continue to focus on the virtues of Tranquility, Moderation, Order, Patience, and Joy, I hope to gain a much more gratifying life.