When I finished the April challenge, I figured I'd spent a good chunk of the two week break reflecting on what's next. For the blog, for me, for my life. I'd been working on a fresher perspective, had a couple of realisations (some of which I'd had before but worded differently, but still counts). I was excited for my next chapter.
Then some family drama came up, flashbacks happened, and I reverted back to form. Isolation, chasing the angry adrenaline rush, becoming bogged down in boredom and despair at where I am in life. A lack of gratitude, a lack of perspective, and a lack of a clear way to get back on the horse. Instead, it feels like I've been crawling around like Jordon Belfort in Wolf of Wall Street.
My gut reaction is to try and come up with the perfect way forward. Find the right apps, set up the right routine, drink and eat the right things in the right way at the right time around the right exercises, and set everything up perfectly so I have a foolproof way to get up off the floor. Then, after making myself miserable for a while by not reaching my unrealistic goals, I give up on everything and veg. This makes me feel worse, but eventually I start doing stuff, and I start feeling a bit better.
This can take weeks, sometimes months. Then the cycle starts again: hit new highs, highs that I can't sustain for much longer, then go from 100 to 0 and find my way back up.
And it's all born from a fear of my past, of who and where I was. I was so determined to escape my surroundings that I had to aim higher and higher, create new realities for myself so I could be anyone else but me. It's still a go-to today; stuck in my past, I have to create a better future me in my head and figure out how to get there.
Or I could accept a different reality, and be Ordinary.
Ordinary, like humility, has been a pretty dirty word for me. It was always felt like defeat, a betrayal of my 'limitless potential'. And yes, I cringed as a typed that. That's progress right?
Behind that, it felt limiting, because if I'm ordinary then what is there to aim for? If my target isn't sky high, how will I feel like I've achieved anything? If I'm ordinary, how am I different from that person I hated to be? I needed to be better to feel better, to drag myself up from how others made me feel.
But then there's my wife, seeing the Me I am in this moment, not the Me in my imagination, and loving me anyway, and just typing that has given me the first genuine smile I've had all day.
Most of the content I see try and push their agenda towards either end of the spectrum. Either everything all of the time, or nothing any time.
You have the overachievers: the 4am wake up, plunge pool enthusiasts who tell you to five minute journal your way to being your own CEO and earn seven figures from a beach in Latin America, and you have the populist monks, preaching detaching yourself from everything, living like an empty container unprovoked by anything.
What I want is somewhere in the middle. Self-improvement without the need to be exceptional, just better. Detachment without isolation, or feeling guilty at enjoying the niceties, like avocado toast, or a glass of cold rosè on a sunny Sunday. Reflection and engagement in all areas of life, without it being the absolute requirement for happiness.
What I want to be grounded as often as possible. There will be absolute lows and exceptional highs, but that peace that I'm chasing isn't at either end of the wave, but rather it's floating in the middle on the deep calm sea.
I don't want to be exceptional anymore and I certainly don't want to be depressed anymore. I just want to be me, and to find that balance.
A lot of this is going to sound familiar, but as I've said before, some lessons are easy (2 + 2 = 4), others need refreshing from time to time as needed (remember the quadratic formula, anyone?).
But that's the journey I want to go on, and that's what I' going to be writing about going forward.
Better ways to process my emotions that beating myself up and hiding under the covers.
Better ways to improve my health without striving for 0% body fat and record breaking numbers on the big three lifts.
Better ways to engage in my hobbies that to strive for perfect mastery over them (and maybe better hobbies to focus my time on than doom scrolling on Reddit).
Better ways to live than with my head in the clouds or stuck in the past, but in the present. In the here and now.
I can't promise it's going to sound any less cheesy than that, I'm afraid, but it'll be something.
And hey, if I can help others along the way, reach out at email@example.com. Let's talk.
I'll be posting a least once a week, but maybe more if I have something more to talk about. Mailing list subs will still get an extra post once a week. And we'll see how far this goes.
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