I Don't Want To Live In Exceptional Times
Before the holidays, I was asking one of my close colleagues about whether she thought we lived in exceptional times. Lately, however, I've started asking a different question - what would it mean if we did live in exceptional times?
What I've kept coming back to is a riff on an old adage: exceptional times call for exceptional measures. And what scares me is that when folks talk about exceptional measures, it means making exceptions. That may mean doing things that are bolder, riskier, and more creative than the norm. But exceptional measures can also lead to actions that are less moral, just and thoughtful than today's status quo.
I hope I never ever live in a time where it's okay to make exceptions to doing what's right and behaving with decency. I'd rather live in plain, old, normal times. Instead of relishing the rush and excitement of doing "exceptional" things, I'd rather live in a relatively average era where progress never needs to be more than an incremental and steady motion toward goodness.
Speaking more personally, I've started to actively give up the delusion of having and wanting an exceptional life. I would love to live a life where I never have to do anything exceptional, so long as I have the opportunity and energy to be a slightly better man every day.
In a sense, I want to be a boring man living in boring times. But in the way compound interest is boring - unnoticed daily but transformational over the course of a lifetime.