Something I was reading earlier today casually mentioned the “Puritan virtues” of hard work, thrift, and stoicism. Reading that reminded me of a quip I heard years ago that said, “God invented work as punishment, but the Puritans turned it into a virtue.” There is a kind of joylessness in those virtues. I often think in the New England where I grew up, there was a certain admiration for what I call joyless do-your-duty, as if denying your own pleasure was something to be admired and emulated.
Fuck that. It is time for me to reject that, as those virtues don’t work for me. They don’t make my life better and they don’t make the lives of those around me better.
But it got me thinking, what are my virtues? The Catholic Church has seven deadly sins and seven heavenly virtues. I’m not as interested in sins, but if I had to pick seven virtues to aspire to, what would they be?
- Presence / attention / care / thoroughness.
- Love / kindness / generosity / forgiveness.
- Good cheer.
- Pleasure / desire.
- Daring / action.
I think I could write a full post about each one, and perhaps I will, but for now, it is enough to have the list in front of me, in black and white, to consider. To think about whether the way I am living reflects them.