Who are you? How do you want to live? Do you want to settle down or see the world? Raise kids or stay in college forever? Write books or become a CEO or earn your place as a pillar of your community…?
If you find somebody who thinks you're The Specialest Favorite, how far will you change to suit their lifestyle so that you can live together Foreverish? And how long do you figure that is? What if they don't agree?
What if you change? What if they change? How much priority can you, or are you willing to, give to staying in the same place as someone else Foreverish?
All of that depends on who you are, of course, which means that it depends on really knowing who you are — without that, how can you answer any of those questions?
Knowing who you are depends on having your EYES OPEN about who you are. And that means having self-esteem, because convincing yourself that you're awful is just as dishonest as convincing yourself that you're Hercules (and has none of the potential benefits of the latter, either).
If you got past thirty years old, and made a bunch of huge life-decisions, all while having really awful self-esteem, then it's safe to predict that you will probably find yourself holding a basket filled with some pretty amazing mistakes. I'm writing this to confess that that's precisely what I did, and that in the last couple months a good chunk of them came due — as mistakes do — and knocked down quite a lot of the life I'd been building for the last seven years.
So things have been unstable and uncertain and emotionally really difficult lately. My near-term future holds more of that plus loneliness, financial difficulty, and an intimidating daily workload that, to be frank, I can't at the moment see how I'm going to pull off. I'm sure it'll work out somehow — things do, after all, and panicking never helps — but I feel like I have to be honest with the people who read my blog and send me emails (which I haven't been good about answering lately *at all*, sorry) looking for advice that I'm not exactly lifestyle guru material lately. I am, in fact, mid-lesson on some really useful shit that I'm sure will turn into some great advice I can give to others once I've figured it through…but the figuring-through is a long and tricky process, and while I'm in the middle of it I'm hardly a good example to anyone.
My idea of a "sleep schedule" lately is "try to stay awake until I'm tired enough that I can't lay in bed with my thoughts whirring unpleasantly, get up when I have to after probably far too little sleep, and snag naps if there's an opportunity when I get so tired during the day that I can't think straight anymore". I couldn't even tell you when or how much I sleep, and there's no name for the schedule I'm on other than perhaps "yikes".
My idea of a "diet" lately consists of snacks, comfort food, restaurant food, coffee and beer. I try to make healthy choices in the snacks and restaurant departments, and to drink at least some water every day, but that's about the level of attention I've been able to give it.
I do still get a good amount of exercise, thankfully — I've learned over the last few years that it leads directly to better mental health, and I need all the help I can get, so I've been sticking close to kungfu and swimming whenever time permits, and throwing in situps and simple workouts whenever I can steal them. I also have no car, so I walk a lot, and I always do so quickly and while paying close attention to my form. I still have visible stomach-muscles, woot.
BUT, and this is the important thing in my mind, I HAVE largely* fixed my self-esteem problems. And that's a big deal for me…I'm not coming from "a bit of body-image issues" or something, but rather a background of full-blown self-hatred and self-harm. The things that fell apart on me lately were things I'd built with "I don't deserve better" in mind, and so, difficult as it is to stand in a smoking field and try to contemplate a suddenly scary future, I'm hopeful because I know this is the right direction.
Path, not goal. Follow proper principles. Eyes and hands open.
All hail the fishes swimming up waterfalls! ;)
*The necessary breakthroughs have been made, but as with all such things, there's a sensitive period afterwards — much like the second two weeks of an adjustment to polyphasic sleep — wherein one must be careful not to slide back into old habits. That's where I am now.