Something is “wrong” — on perspective and acceptance in the digital age

Jocelyn Shen
2 min readAug 2, 2022


I don’t like edge cases. Lists and procedures, scheduled jobs, binary categories, and efficiency are much more comforting to me. I used to think that adding constraints and laws to handle different conditions would make my life easier. Perhaps it’s a combination of being a computer scientist who thinks too programmatically about the world and my own deep-rooted desire to “fix” things. But I realized recently that these artificial constraints come from the privilege of choice.

What is really important? It’s a difficult question for me to answer, and I struggle over the simplest of decisions. Many times, choice can be a curse, and to regain a sense of our own control, we impose artificial constraints, unrealistic routines, meticulous plans, and false senses of completion or perfectionism — what some people might call “making it.” This is by no means an individual fault, as we live in a world where noise becomes signal and signal becomes noise.

The side effects of living in the digital world easily bleed into the physical world. Everything can be recorded and offloaded. Anything can be deleted or moved. Mistakes can be auto-corrected. People are videos, images, and captions. Content is manicured and edited. But part of living is existing with and accepting the decisions we do make as well as the nuances of the current context we are in. No two choices are the same. No two moments in time are the same. No two people are the same.

Indecision is poison to my mind. Only, it doesn’t spread. It stays circulating in the body for a long time. The simple truth is that some of the choices I make will not matter, but rather the mindset with which I approach these choices.

Focusing on what is truly important allows us to accept and embrace all of the above, and, in turn, acceptance allows us to free up the space to focus on what matters. This is not to say that we should be complacent. Acceptance is different from complacency because it is an active choice. Complacency is making mental excuses that reduce the effort it would take to accept what is truly important to ourselves and to others.

So I want to accept this moment. Accept the process. Accept imperfection, challenges, changes, and differences. Accept that I won't always get what I want. Accept that many important things are also unenjoyable. Accept that everything is gray. Accept life for what it is in this moment, not the way it could be or the way other people’s lives are. Accept others for the way they are. Accept that I might need to stop everything I’m doing right now to do something for someone else. Accept that things won’t always get done. Accept that every circumstance requires a different approach. Accept that there are no right answers. Accept that I’m never going to be the best at what I do. Accept that people might not accept me. Accept the failure to accept. Accept that life is full of contradictions.