I’ve never seen Lord of the Rings¹. Everything I know about the series is just from what I’ve heard living on a planet full of millions of Lord of the Rings fans. And, also from this:
From what I understand though, either Gandalf or Frodo go on a long quest through a place called Mordor or Middle Earth to save a ring, or take a ring somewhere, and it’s a hard journey full of tough obstacles, challenges and headfucks.
I’m also on my own quest like Gandalf (or Frodo) went on. But I’m on at least one more than he (or they?) went on². One is to find a job which I give a lot of fucks about, and another is one Ive been on since I was a kid: to stop picking at my nails.
I don’t smoke but quitting doing that’s been just as difficult and unsuccessful as quitting smoking has been for a lot of people. I’ve tried all sorts of approaches but nothing has worked. And I’m not going to say that thing that people say as a joke when they can’t give something up, about being too weak-willed, as if that’s an endearing human quality.
That sucks. And if you do that, you suck. And I don’t want to suck at this anymore.
There’s something that Stoic philosopher Seneca the Younger said, ‘…it is easier for the will to give things up completely than to use them moderately.’²
That right there I totally agree with. Though not everyone would. For me to stop something, I have to go cold turkey. Practicing moderation is too difficult for things where the downside isn’t significant enough. Smoking cigarettes has a clear downside, but picking at nails doesn’t really. But whatever; I hate doing it. And when I go too far and it actually hurts, I hate that I do it. So I’m done.
So if you see me, next time, ask to see my nails. And if they look like crap, make me feel really really bad about it. Shame is a really good motivating force.
¹ Not completely true –my wife tried to get me to watch the first one once but I fell asleep 10 minutes in.
² Eat it, Gandalf (or Frodo).
³ Taken from Seneca – A Life by Emily Wilson