I — I hardly know, sir, just at present — at least I know who I WAS when I got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed several times since then.
Alice, Through the Looking Glass
This past year, like Alice, I woke up feeling like I knew who I was, but by the time I went to bed, I was someone different. I found myself reflecting a lot with every spare moment. While I watched Kylie playing, the conversations I had with people, or the breathless moments I had at the end of a gruelling hike. Each moment had me thinking more on who I was, where I was going, and what I was doing.
I discovered that you never see yourself for who you are until you view yourself in a way you don’t fully control. When looking in a bathroom mirror: you know when the light is on, when you turn your head to see yourself, how your body is aligned. The truth comes out when you catch yourself in a reflection that you weren’t prepared for: looking into a still pond or catching yourself in a shiny surface, for example. For me, it was also the comments from the people I have been around and reading my past work.
Seeing yourself in a new and different way opens your eyes to how true or false the image you have created in your mind actually is.
When I was writing A New Dawn and migrating the site over to GitHub Pages, I read a lot of my older work. Picking out pieces to repair so it would be readable on this site was difficult, both in the work involved, and in having to read over all those old words. Inspiring, painful, interesting, a complete mix of emotions while reading thousands of words written over the past four plus years.
It was hard to read over some of those words and be mesmorized with how far I have come over the years. It is both a wonderful thing to be able to read exactly how I was feeling during those stressful and painful times, but also the absolute worst to have to endure those memories all over again.
An example from Weathering the Storm:
Every time I sat down to write about what is happening with me, I kept thinking about how no one is writing about their problems. If I wrote about my personal life here, would it scare people off, or would it be welcomed? What happens when my friends on Facebook read it? Will they be upset that they discover something through a blog instead of in a personal message (or somewhat personal status message)?
The conclusion I came to was the same one my girl friend came to regards to me: fuck it.
I read that whole post again tonight and felt like giving Old Me a big hug. Just awful to think about how I endured that time of my life.
On the flip side, it amuses me that the philosophy that I wanted to live by, saying fuck it, is the same approach I was taking last year, over two years after I wrote the previous post. Saying Fuck It came up again and again, and I even recommended the book by the same name, fuck it.
That approach carried over to this past year, but I also came across another book that has helped me immensely, The Obstacle is the Way.
Where the head goes, the body follows. Perception precedes action. Right action follows the right perspective.
Some things need to be let go; others need to be tackled head on.
Health and fitness were the two areas that I renewed my efforts to push even harder than I was. I never felt that bad about where I was health-wise. I tried to be active, not eat a lot of junk on a daily basis, and was mostly aware of recipes or trends. That all crumbled apart after meeting different people this year and hearing their comments about how I looked.
Previous years, I would have said, “Fuck it,” and kept going as I always have. This time was different. A clearer mind helped push me to double down in my efforts and clean up my health even further than it was before.
I went back to tracking my hikes with RunKeeper. You can see my results by visiting my RunKeeper Profile. I have been using the kettle-bells much more regularly and pushing myself to endure a 40 minute workout no matter how hard I am sweating. And, finally, I have been doing a lot better with my diet lately. The juice challenge has been going well for me, currently on Day 7 of having a freshly made juice daily. I have also been having a meatless day a few times a week now, and may push it to mainly vegetarian in the coming months. No promises, though.
Ryan Holiday was right when he said, “Right action follows the right perspective.” It has taken me far too long to realize what the right perspectives are with my life to help me take the right action. As I continue to reflect on myself daily, it has helped me with the raising of my daughter. I understand my strengths, where I need to improve, and can pass those lessons down to my daughter more easily.
Every now and then, I see or hear her do something that makes me realize that my efforts are rubbing off on her. When she asks to walk back from school with me, make a fresh juice of her choosing, or genuinely interested in learning more French words, I can see clearly how the efforts of me and her mother are having a positive effect on her.
A tiny reflection of all the positive changes we have been making which keeps inspiring us both to always be improving. Onto another year of growth and discovery.
If you wish to do something to support me as a writer and wish me a happy birthday, here are a few things you can do: