The time is 330am. I got in bed at midnight. I’m not sure if I fell asleep at any point, but it was 2am when I found myself struggling to sleep and decided to grab my laptop and do some writing. I spent some time on Reddit, which I found actually quite interesting (reading about Men in Black, and about wealthy kids) rather than wasteful. Then opened up my Evernote, encountered some thoughts from my trip in India, and read up about American roads for a while. (I’m still pretty curious about how roads developed alongside humanity as a species. Which were the most used roads, how have those changed over time, and so on.)
Anyway, hello word processor, my old friend, I’ve come to talk with you again. It feels like the past month or so has been a little rough. And I’m wondering if you could help me contextualize all of that. What’s the correct lens for me to look at all of this through?
I’ve been sick for a week, which probably has made me more demoralized and morose than I’d typically be in this situation. I observe myself thinking, “It sucks when you want to get things done but your body isn’t cooperating.” I wonder if that’s actually true, though. Would I have gotten more done if I weren’t sick, or would I simply have done the bare minimum, as I often do? Well… I think I have enough experience with myself by now to say that I don’t exactly set out to do the bare minimum– sometimes I go above and beyond the call of duty, sometimes I inadvertently do less than I should, and get burned for it. This is still a seemingly-perpetual weakness for me, and in my moment of illness and frustration I wonder if I’ll ever overcome it, if I’ll ever outgrow it, or if it’ll just get worse and worse until I die.
Well, I squatted 90kg a few days ago. That counts for something. That felt good. If I can break that limit, I can surely break others. I’m grateful for that. I’d also be grateful if I had written more by now– though to be fair, this is already way more than I think I had conceived of. I’ve been reading old vomits, and somewhere around 0240 I wrote that I was writing without knowing what I was doing, without knowing what I had to say, but I was going to say it anyway with the hope that it would give Future Me (that’s me right now) more context, so that I wouldn’t have to suffer and struggle as much as Past Me did. And for that I am genuinely touched and grateful. I forgot I did that. It’s very interesting to be able to have that dynamic with yourself.
In fact I think that’s almost all that matters. Or it’s at least the first thing that matters. If I can’t be proud of myself, there’s no point in me trying to get anybody else to be proud of me. I need to earn my own respect, be kind to myself, be my own cheerleader. And I can be my own Fastball Special.
I guess this is the recalibration phase of my life. I’m 25 and I realize I’m probably never going to be holy-shit-amazing on an international scale. I do still think it’s possible, and that’s a possibility worth living into. But I have to make arrangements in my mind to realize that I will have to learn to be happy even if I never make any progress, if I never get what I want.
The thing though is to keep trying. To keep regrouping. To keep revising. So many success stories involve people toiling for decades without much to show for it. This was really just my first decade, and it wasn’t even a well-aligned, coherent sort of decade. Hell. I’ve only been an “independent man” for about 3 years. I’ve only been working out (heavy squats) for about 3-4 months. I’m constantly learning about new limitations and whatever, and constantly feeling overwhelmed, but I’m going to learn to navigate that.
I’m not sure if there’s anything in particular I want to say to anybody out there in the world. The most I can do is write for myself. What do I want to say to me tomorrow? It’s going to take me all of my effort to psyche my future self up. But that’s going to be worth it, so I’m going to do it. I want to say, don’t give up. It’s going to be hard and painful and boring and stressful and overwhelming, and all of those things in writing are never quite as much of a mindfuck as they are in reality. What you’re experiencing is the malaise that takes perfectly good teenagers and turns them into really grumpy, disdainful, worn out adults. We must rediscover what it is that gives us joy and glee. Life is fleeting but it doesn’t have to be bleak. We will rediscover laughter. We will rediscover awe and learning. There is more behind the curtain. There is ALWAYS more behind the curtain.
Just keep doing the work. You build the house brick by boring brick. Just keep laying the bricks. Just keep swimming. Keep putting down one foot in front of the other. Take breaks as necessary and regroup. But don’t give up. Don’t quit. When you get tired, go back to the larger vision. What’s the larger vision? That I’m going to become “legit”. That I’m going to expand myself into somebody that can handle the challenges that are thrown at me. I can grow into my own idealized embodiment of masculinity and own it and feel great about it. It’s not going to be perfect 24/7 but I think it’s going to be more good than bad. That’s all I’m asking for– more good than bad. But the universe doesn’t care. It gives most people in the world more bad than good, it seems.
I need to refactor my perception.