0374 – consider what’s changed and prepare for future change

Hot on the heels of the last vomit– so this is the first time in a few days that I’m writing two instead of one. I wanted to think about what has changed. Well, I got married. I bought a house. I got a job. I’ve been working in that job for 2 years. I’ve grown within that role and I’m responsible for more things than I was before. I quit smoking, started again, quit again. Same for exercise. I learned to cook scrambled eggs, and I cooked some chicken once. I’m eating a little healthier than I did at the start. I’m sleeping a little better (I think). I’m feeling more in control of my life, I think. I’m a littled bit more jaded (but I intend to overcome that and stop feeling sorry for myself), but I’m still committed and I want to renew my commitment to living a life of joy and excitement. I want to be happy, that hasn’t changed. I love good books and good movies, that hasn’t changed. [1]

I know that I want to become disciplined and focused. That hasn’t actually changed. I suppose I’m putting in more effort now. I realize that I need to measure things by my output and the outcomes that I intend, not by how much I talk about how much I want to grow and improve. I need to be more systematic. I need to be able to regulate and discipline my emotions better. I need to be able to be more calm. I’ve experimented a little bit with meditation. I know that exercise is important. I’m curious to read more of the books on my shelf. I think it’s time soon that I get into some of the classic stuff.

I think I’ve changed with regards to my relationships with other people. I’m not perfect yet and I never will be. But I still want to be a lot better as a person. I want to help people. I want to be less snarky. I want to never say anything negative or nasty about anybody– I think I’ve made a lot of progress on that front but there’s still more to go. I think I’m less whiny as a friend and as a husband. I think I recognize the importance of being a solid, reliable rock. Reliable was never something I prided myself on or hoped to be as a child, but that child is long gone now. That child was confused and misled and all sorts of things. He also had some pretty good ideas and I’ll consult with him from time to time, but for the most part I think it’s important for me to think for myself. I think I’ve distanced myself a lot better from old grudges and childish worries. I think I see more clearly now how me living well has a positive impact on other people around me, especially the people I care about. I think I see more clearly now the importance of communication, of protocol, of not leaving people hanging. Of planning. Of rehearsing.

I still definitely don’t plan enough. I don’t rehearse enough. I keep hoping that I’ll improvise magical material that will knock everybody’s socks off, but the truth is that even the best improvizers get good at improvizing by practice. I realize the importance of being spontaneous, and of saying Yes to when my wife suggests going on a date. I realize that I shouldn’t overcommit to many things, instead I should get a fixed amount of basic stuff done every day. I’m still new to that but I think I’m getting better at it. I realize that I should make decisions in advance and then disallow myself from re-deciding and overthinking. I realize I give myself too much leeway to lead myself away from what I want, into mindless distractions and entertainment. I’m sure I’ve been saying that for 10 years now, but it feels like something is starting to be different. Probably because I’ve been outside the Cave, and now that I’m back in it (in some respects), my life can never be the same. It’s like refusing the Call to Adventure, isn’t it? You can’t really do it forever. Once you have seen beyond what you know, you can’t undo it. You can’t return to ignorance. I can’t return to ignorance and I don’t want to. And I can’t, so the “I don’t want to” bit is meaningless anyway.

The only thing left now is to just walk into the pain, lean into the pain and discomfort and walk towards the truth. To realize and recognize that I have been clothing and covering myself in bullshit– for all sorts of reasons– and now that I’m outside of my comfort zone– now that the village idiot has gone into the wilderness– there is no choice but to acknowldge weakness, to acknowledge that the BS is worthless, and that I have to start figuring out how to fashion a spear, and how to hunt. I have to start figuring out what’s edible and what’s not. I don’t have time to play the parlor game that is “Wow, what a parlor game we used to play!” We’re in the wilderness now, in some sense. And the only way is forward. We will never be able to return and say that our hands are empty, that we return with nothing. We could, but that’s a sort of death. The only way is forward.

Oh yeah, something else that has changed. I’ve had a few days now where I got a bunch of work done and then went home with a smile and confidence in my body, rather than worry. This is an important battle for me.

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[1] In recent times I’ve read the Ender’s Game series, Steve Wozniak’s autobiography, a couple of good interviews and essays. I’ve watched Gattaca and Good Will Hunting and A Few Good Men, all good movies. I watched The West Wing– not THAT recently, but still recent within the context of this vomit project.

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