Starting with today

Sunday, 27 August 2017

Truth be told, I didn't want another post of goals to come around so soon. Given my past track record, I have come to realise that the constant revolution of making intentions, then breaking intentions, makes for no fun read at all. Imagine writing your life into a novel and putting it out there for all to read: your protagonist, which happens to be your very good self, bumbles around for what seems like eternity and your readers have no idea whether to begin cheering or steel themselves up for the inevitable moan. You leave them disappointed; perhaps more disappointed than you actually feel yourself, but then again, you have become used to this feeling. You are numb to the labours of your own invention - and this is the trouble that comes hand-in-hand with being a perfectionist.

Self-improvement can often be a long game of two punctuated halves. In the first instance, you are fit and fiery and ready to go. You make lists upon lists, and lists of lists, and set yourself objectives and, as well as aiming for dates saddled at the end of a duration, you aim for the stars. There is almost nothing that can shake the excitement and the positive energy that comes from trying to take the steering wheel of your very own life, precious in it's worth, and trying to lead yourself in a better direction.

But then comes the intermission. Whether long or short, it's always bleak; something that you wish to forget about as soon as possible, or brush under the carpet. In the intermission, everything slips. You are suddenly not abiding by lists anymore and you are no longer on auto-pilot - you are flying solo and this plane is falling. You are experiencing your first failure on this journey to betterment and it's frustrating, de-motivating. You wallow for a brief time - we're all allowed to, we're only human after all - and then you dust yourself off, declaring that it's time to move on, to begin again.

The second half gets underway and you realise something is amiss. You're lacking in spunk, in grit and gumption. It makes it that much harder to persist. You are still inherent in continuing with your plucky positivity parade, but it's like wading through treacle. You lose interest; you seem to lose interest pretty easily anyway. And before you know it, you're back to square one. No, further back than that; you're wondering what led you to captain yourself across this stormy sea, and declare this particular ship well and truly closed for business.

Imagine that. Now imagine all of that, repeated, over and over, like one endless perpetual motion. Blips blending into failures; defeat overwhelming everything until it's all that you ever know. Until it's something that you are so used to, you're not sure you can remember ever feeling so spirited. That would not be an inaccurate description of much of my adult life.

Please don't pity me. I am, after all, the director of my own life, and that is never going to change. I am not putting this tale out there, laying it all bare, for sympathetic ears and helpful words. I am declaring this as a conflict of interest - because no matter how many times it happens, and I have lost count, this is not the way I intend for things to be. I am well vested in my adult life - I'm 30, for crying out loud - and I barely have anything to lose, so why-oh-why do I find it so difficult to give more?

The awareness I am slowly letting wash over me is quite becoming. Recognition is a funny old thing, especially regarding your own being, and it can very easily be dismissed or glossed over, forgotten about until the next big fuck up and the cycle starts up again. But this time, it's different. This time, I am willing to accept a better fate; I am not about to turn down this chance to turn things around; and maybe to feel lifted in the process. Maybe that little joy will continue to lead me, and will aid me in acting with confidence and certainty. Maybe good things will happen, if I put my mind to it. And maybe, just maybe, when I do face failure once more, I will feel it. It sounds strange, but I couldn't imagine anything more fulfilling: to be driven by the losses that you made on your own terms.

It starts with today. Just a little change, barely anything worthy of note. It starts with today - putting it out there in black and white for all to witness, and for reminding myself in times of trouble. Suddenly, it's not about goals anymore. It's not about lists or challenges or all of these silent protests. It's about each and every step forward, delicate and daring all at the same time. Remembering that you are not defined by your mistakes, or regrets. Remembering that you are lucky to live. Starting with today.

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