Old habits die hard, so I’ve heard from time to time. But how come it’s the destructive habits that die harder than the healthier options? This might not apply to everyone, but for me, those things that are easiest to follow through on are those things that aren’t so amazing for me in the long term.
I could blame society, with it’s proliferation of rampant consumerism, disposable technology and inability to see further than 2 weeks into the future (that’s the only way I can possibly explain why we’re still fully dependent on petroleum regardless of the insurmountable evidence that it’s destroying everything that will help us to maintain a comfortable existence in a future 3 weeks from now) but the reality is, I’m a member of that society and so the blame rests just as readily with me as with anyone else. But this rant is not about the world at large, it’s about me and my ability to make myself feel small. No more! This is an old habit that needs to die. Regardless of how, be it easy or hard, smooth or chunky, it needs to go.
The fact that I stopped smoking after 20 years gives me hope that I’m growing and learning and evolving into someone who realizes that if I am going to live to see a healthy 111 (eleventy-one) some of the make-you-out-of-breath-when-you-climb-stairs habits need to change. And while it was a big one, it wasn’t enough.
I have this tendency to get lazy when I do something that seems impressive to me. It doesn’t usually last too long, but there can be a fair bit of laurel resting around here if I don’t keep watch. For example, I stopped smoking on December 21, 2011. For an entire year I rode that wave of self control and when, after that year was up, I was still expelling 20 years of excess and tar from my lungs, I started to cotton to the notion that perhaps stopping smoking wasn’t enough to ensure my health and well being until I’m old and grey (though I’m certain I’d be grey now if I didn’t dye my hair incessantly..being an unnatural redhead takes work). Perhaps I would have to meet my health halfway and exercise or something. I’ve never been great at it, not a super sporty type of person by any means. Not opposed to activity, but organized sports tends to fall into the same category as organized religion for me, which is a statement I will pontificate on another time. Until recently, I used the excuse of ‘being a smoker, I just don’t have the lung capacity to be really active’ which is a crazy bullshit copout. And I got tired of not only the copout, but the breathlessness. The only thing that should be breathless is a french new wave movie by Jean-Luc Godard. Again, a subject for another time.
I’ve grown so accustomed to my propensity for this behaviour that I will find numerous ways to make excuses for it. Which leads to the inevitable self-sabotage. I’ll exercise for 2 days in a row…wow! And feel justified in giving myself a day off. Which myself is happy to accept. And then it becomes easier to continue this habit of opting out, rather than knuckling down and working through the laziness. Until such time as I’m disappointed enough in myself that the fire under my ass is lit, the regime is started once more and….the same again. Eventually I’ll get to the point where I’ll decide that isn’t working and determine a new regime must be what’s needed. I’ll need to do some research and figure out the best course of action. Ironically, the best course of action? Action. Just do some damn pushups already! You don’t need to google how to do a pushup, though there is a plethora of instructional videos out there on how to do a proper pushup I’m sure. The issue isn’t pushups or activity though. It’s commitment to the belief that my time, my energy, my very existence has a value to it that demands it be filled with activities that create health and satisfaction. It’s when I stop believing in my self-worth or do just enough to convince myself that I’m honoring my obligation to care about myself that the sabotage makes itself known.
This is what I’m on the verge of doing right now. Of late, I’ve been feeling really good about what I’ve been writing. And people have been telling me so, which is wonderful! To have people with minds and opinions I respect and admire encouraging me to continue validates me in a way that is intoxicating at times.
So herein lies the conundrum.
It would be so easy to slip back into either the habit of trying to force myself to write everyday, regardless of inspiration or not, demanding of myself that I be clever and prolific and inevitably finding fault when I can’t, because I have set an expectation for myself that is unreasonable, knowing that I’ll fail. Self-sabotage habit number one.
The other way I tend to kick the pedastal out from under myself happens when I start to actually get somewhere in my existential ramblings, start to uncover the whys and wherefores as to my inherent nature in the hope that I can affect positive change into my everyday existence, and instead of pushing forward I’ll use the cloak of superficial self love to disguise how afraid I am to shine the light into the shadows. The whole I-love-myself-so-why-would-I-cause-myself-undue-pain-by-actually-probing-into-why-these-bad-habits-are-so-deeply-ingrained ploy. And while it’s true that with every excursion, the light gets a little brighter, there’s still a long way to go.
I do want to write or at least post something every day, it’s the best way to offer a control to this scientific experiment that is the evolution of a barefoot light goddess, but since this is the year of expectationless joy, I refuse to demand of myself that every day I be witty and pertinent and humorous and wise. So there might be days that I miss and there might be days that I have nothing to say about anything other than Jean-Pierre Melville movies (you should watch them, seriously, any film noir buffs who don’t know that name are missing out…) and that’s totally okay. Because being mindful of one’s actions is just as important as the actions themselves, especially if those actions involve insisting that self-sabotage find another place to live.