I left my home state, and all the family and friends it contained, about a year and a half ago, in search of... myself, as it seems. At the time I thought I was looking for a job that felt better, or some people to spice up my ever-hungry social life. The more I discover about myself in the process, I realize that it was the answers to unasked questions I sought the most. I wanted a passion, and I wanted to find an existence that fulfilled me.
Thanks entirely to this lifestyle change, I have most certainly discovered more self-worth, a happier and more meaningful direction in my life, and a generally higher quality of life. I have made friends, left my comfort zone in many ways, and accomplished goals that I hadn't even set a year ago. In some aspects, I feel like I have accomplished a lot in building myself, creating the man I want to be. Yet, in some other, painfully prominent ways, I continue to fail myself, and come up short on expectations for myself. Moreover, it should be noted that these failed goals aren't even the unattainable goals, but some incredibly fundamental healthy habits.
Among my highest priority changes were things like waking up earlier (arguably the most important, and something I'll circle back to), making productivity a habit, creating art, structuring my life more efficiently, and phasing out the habits that no longer serve me. All of these things are contributing factors into becoming the man I want to be. When I drove down to Tennessee to start this adventure, I adopted a mantra to inch me closer to my foggy future.
"Make it worth it."
I'm not sure where it came from or why I started saying it, why I kept repeatedly writing it like a grade-schooler's obsessive penning of his first crush's name. It felt then, and still feels now, like the most concise way to place my ambition. I chose to move a long way from my parents and best friends, I chose not to exercise my college degree, and I chose not to spend my twenties settling for things that didn't suit me. Because of these choices, I sought to make my decision to move to Nashville worth sacrificing the things I'd given up. I wanted to 'make it worth it', and I'm still trying.
Now, today, I'm writing because I almost feel like I've hit a lull. I can tell myself over and over what I've done to better myself in the last year, and how well I've committed to making myself a better and more well-rounded person. But then on an unprecedented Wednesday like today, I feel somehow obligated to convince myself I'm at my newest rock bottom, in hopes that I'll spur a new chapter of reinventing. Have I lost my point yet?
What I'm about to say will seem like the dumbest thing you've read on the internet, and I'm starting to think that's ok.
Today, as possibly the dozenth time in the last few weeks, and maybe the hundredth time this year, I slept in and wasted my morning despite wholly convincing myself that I would wake up and make use of my day, beginning with the crack of dawn. Now, that is exactly why I expect you've heard nothing more silly. It's exactly how it sounds: sleeping in and wasting the first part of my day is slowly but surely ruining me, and I can't conquer it.
I want to be more like my father by waking up at 6am, no matter how tardy my bedtime was. I want to ease into my day with reading, writing, listening to my podcasts, and a quick stop at the gym. I want to hit my day (or at least the part I owe to other people) with a full head of steam. I CRAVE order and system in my routine, I'm at a point where it's necessary if I want to restructure and make the best use of the life I've created up to this point. What I want is to have enough self control that every morning operates like the well oiled machine I need it to be. All of this should be as simple as just doing it, but it's not, and I can't find out why.
I've made a bad habit (possibly my very worst habit), of putting things off. Often little, tiny, itty-bitty, nearly insignificant things are what I put off best. Buying a trash can or cooking for myself or.. simply waking up and doing something - anything - with myself. Never detrimental, but almost always signs of something larger. A college professor once me the age-old lesson that thoughts become actions, actions become habit, and habit becomes character. Or.. Well, something to that effect. Does this mean I need to deconstruct far enough to reconstruct habit? It's not so much that I fear for my character, but I do fear for my habits at times. Being as I'm 24, bordering 25, there's no better time (except maybe 5 years ago) to ask myself how my habits are guiding my character, and subsequently, how do I want my character to be in the next five or ten or twenty years?
A thought rambled through my head a couple of months ago, and it struck me as something worth writing down, so I did. The notebook next to the driver's seat of my van/home now reads, in big and bold letters,
"Be a man who does what he says he'll do."
I'd never wrestled with this thought before, but it suddenly meant a lot to me. How am I perceived in this world, if not a man true to himself? I have family and friends and other loved ones who mean the world to me, and I'd like to think I mean the world to them. And if we truly operate in a universe where we're no more or less than the summation of these people's beliefs about us, than what I want is to be a man who is in tune with, and in complete agreement with, himself. That is to say, in touch with my wants and desires, what's important to me as well as those around me, what's best for me and those around me, and leaving every single interaction with every single person having impacted them positively. On a day to day basis, DO what I say I'll do, so as to be trusted and respected as such.
A bit philosophical, I suppose, but a roundabout answer to my earlier point. If I say that I'll get up and manage myself, then I should do it out of principle. If I want to reorganize my daily life so that the order brings me closer to fulfillment, then I need to do it. If I want to read, write, learn, and positively impact in the most efficient way possible, then I need to DO that, even if that means breaking down the habits that have comforted me along the way. Especially when said habits are in between me and the goals I hope to accomplish.
I think I'm writing this to be held accountable. I hope that this is all flowing from me now because I don't want it pent up anymore. If I could so easily articulate my shortcomings, I might not allow them to be shortcomings anymore.
Here's to self-improvement.