I have been realizing lately, that in a world-view without inherent meaning, where the rituals and ceremonies of religion and the imposed goals and stereotypes of value in life are irrelevant, that we must create significance for ourselves, or not.
Of course living without assigning any special meaning or value to parts of your life is fine too, there is nothing wrong with adding arbitrary worth to your achievements, developments, and changes in your life.
Lately I’ve been thinking about physicalizing or tokenizing some of my self-rewards, to better remind me of what I have done and what I still have left to work towards.
Specifically I’m considering making a simple leather and bead necklace and adding a bead for one of several accomplishments that I predetermine. Think of it as a merit badge if you want, or a girl scout patch, the idea is more or less the same: a wearable reminder of my deeds and abilities.
I will wear a bead for my high school diploma, a bead for graduating college, a bead for passing JLPT N2 (and N1 when I make it), a bead for writing my first novel draft, a bead when I finish revising my first novel, a bead for any other accomplishment that required at least a month of daily effort. I’ll most definitely wear a bead for getting my Japanese driver’s license, and two extra beads to remind me of the two times I failed that test.
I will wear a bead when I become able to do 50 consecutive push-ups but only as long as I can still do them. If I lose that ability then I’ll remove that bead. If I improve to 100, I’ll add another of the same color.
I’ll similarly wear a bead for each set of 10 pull-ups and another for each set of 10 dips.