Plans just don’t work for me. I’m done with the future. I’ve stumbled upon a way to live my life that isn’t based on what I now realise is a crash and burn philosophy that was booby trapped at every turn. Whenever something didn’t work in my life, I would drop it completely. Often out of necessity because it just wasn’t working and it was affecting my health, but sometimes out of frustration and an inability to figure out how to make it work. If one follows this pattern enough times, one is left with a skeleton of a life. That’s where I feel I’m at now. I’m starting from scratch…again. That doesn’t feel as bad as it might seem, though I’ve done it enough now that I’d quite like to know what it feels like to carry on rather than start again.
The first three months of 2016 have been some of the hardest of my life, at least from a psychological and emotional perspective. I’m looking at myself and my life with honesty, perhaps for the first time. I’ve felt very sorry for myself over the years, I’ve told myself I need to pull myself together, I’ve promised myself I would do better, I’ve tried being positive about where I’m at, I’ve worked hard at trying new things and pushing myself to be different. Something was missing. I had never really looked at why I was so dissatisfied or why, with the greatest will in the world, I just couldn’t get to where I wanted to go in life.
I’ve made a few major changes since I started really looking at where I’m at. The first thing I did was stop drinking completely. I haven’t been a big drinker for years. At least not consistently. I didn’t think I had a problem. Then I looked back at the times I had more than one or two drinks, and I realised those were times that never ended well. More than that, the consistent theme of those evenings was that I did not care what happened to me. Sometimes I scared myself because I wanted something really terrible to happen. I wanted to feel bad and to be hurt. I finally have that out of my system. I’m not interested in discovering a rock bottom that is worse than what I’ve already been through. I’m done and having made that decision, it seems so much easier to me to never have another drink than to try and work out how many I can have before I reach a new low.
When I realised that alcohol was not doing me any favours, I started to look at other areas of my life and I was shocked at just what a self destructive person I am. It turns out I don’t know myself at all. I booked in to see my doctor. I needed help. I didn’t know completely what was going on but I had a feeling it had a lot to do with my past and what my body has been subjected to over decades to keep me alive and functioning. I had tried to get help in the past but I think it’s fair to say, I hadn’t tried very hard. I didn’t want to look back, to the extent that I struggle to remember important things in my past now. It takes some real effort to recall both good and bad happenings. I was all about the future; a future that was looking increasingly bleak as I felt my life closing in on me.
Up until my mid 20s, my future was something I looked forward to unreservedly. I was entirely optimistic. I never had any doubt that I would do well and while my goals and aspirations did change over the years, I was always sure that whatever I ended up doing, I would be successful. I look back on this arrogance now with admiration. Younger me had a drive that I have all but lost. I had a confidence in myself that I now find amazing and somewhat bewildering. It was exhausting though, being younger me. I had no patience with myself if things weren’t happening. My brain was so full of the future that I began to pull away from now.
I’m getting help in the form of a very patient and smart psychologist and I’m working towards a life where I might look at the day ahead with its wonderful potential and feel optimistic about the hours I have at my disposal. The future as a construct has ceased to be a useful concept to me. I am incapable of imagining a realistic and reasonable future for myself and that is one of the many ways I set myself up to fail. That makes me very unhappy. As for my past, I am beginning to look at it through kinder eyes.
I don’t know when or if I will be ‘better’. I do know that whoever I am and whatever I am to be is rooted in today. That’ll do, for now.