I’ll admit it. I’m a sucker for fads, for shiny new things that will help me in my never ending quest for betterment.
Is that a word? I hope so, because I can’t think of another word that encompasses the pervading view that we should all be trying harder to do more, be more, and want more. Whether you are hacking your life to be more efficient, ramping up your productivity with all manner of techniques, methodologies and must-have apps, finding new shiny things to improve your day to day life (hello new DE razor shaving fetish!) or are honing and perfecting to get the body you should, it’s all pushing us to be better versions of ourselves.
But what is better?
Sir Alex Ferguson announced (again) his pending retirement, in the mass outpourings I caught a short video of him happily admitting that it’s ok to lose your temper if it’s for the right reasons, and some times he even did it just for effect.
I mention this only to play that view, which I mostly agree with, against the world of betterment that I’m faced with day after day, admittedly by choice (it’s not like someone else subscribed me to numerous RSS feeds that promise ‘more’ ‘better’).
I find myself getting annoyed if I get grumpy but hey, it’s part of who I am and if it’s justified, why not get grumpy?
Why do I have to improve?
Why do I have to change?
Whilst that may sound like the petulant whining of a 5 year old, and let’s face it, life is probably at it’s most unfair at that time of life as you start to witness the long slow death of your childhood and become an adult, sure, you don’t realise it at the time but surely there is a deep seated part of our instinct that recognises this… why else are small children such awful shits at times, what else do they have to complain about? Ohhh no, I’m getting fed, clothed and cared for, but I’m not allowed a new Action Man because my baby sister needs new clothes, LIFE IS SO FUCKIN UNFAIR!! Ahem.
Where was I? Oh yes…
As an adult, something I hate to admit at times, I realise that part of me, part of my genetic make up, drives me to try and be better, and that part of me has a twin, an equal part of me that strives to perfect that ass-print in my sofa and really doesn’t care that there are dust bunnies under my radiators.
But I can’t ignore that, no matter what excuses I make, and obstacles I put in my way, I want to be better.
Over the years, I’ve read a lot about productivity, cherry-picked a life hack here (back when they were known as ‘good ideas that someone else had’) and adopted small habits there.
But I’ve never really invested, never really committed.
Part of that is because I never do. I shy away from absolutes (and I include religion and academic viewpoints in this that statement) just in case they turn out not to be true. I can apply this rule, loosely, across every aspect of my life. More accurately stated, I don’t always invest as much as I should.
Is that a character flaw? Is that a part of my psyche? Possibly. Recent ponderings have made me wonder about this on many levels, emotionally, financially, culturally, there is always a part of me I keep back.
I do not invest completely.
I do not invest completely because that way, if I fail, I have an excuse. This is the real other part of me that drives my inner dialog, the part that fears failure. It was the part of me that won out a long time ago and drove me to depression, it is the black cloud that threatens every day. Defeating it, being better, has never been fully achieved and growing older I accept that I won’t ever win. So I’ve accepted it, I know that some days I just need to be on my own, that some days no matter how good the intention, how loving the embrace, how kind the words, they won’t make a dent, they won’t make me smile, the won’t makes things better.
This too is changing.
It has been in some aspects of my life for the last couple of years, and I’m happy that that will continue to be the case. It feels natural, it doesn’t feel forced and whilst I’m not sure I’ll ever be a 100% invested kinda guy, I do think I’m a lot closer to that, closer to where I want to be, able to invest more to be better (for me and for others).
Which is handy because I’m also aware that sometimes I need a kick. I know work best under pressure, I’m the guy who leaves most things to the last minute, so I need to find a way to put myself under some pressure. It took a kick to get me jogging and, ultimately, running a 10K.
I fear the next kick is just around the corner.
On Friday I have a doctor’s appointment. He will repeat the message he gave me over a year ago. I need to lose weight. I need to so he can lower the dosages of the medication I take for my high blood pressure which will, eventually, start to damage my liver (I’m on the maximum dose and reaching the end of the timescale for that being feasible).
In my head this is easily translated into a simple equation, liver failure or heart attack. I’m way off the mark, letting my fears and past failures play into those thoughts but there they are. In reality there will be a gradual, managed transition. I don’t do ‘gradual’ very well (something else which isn’t helpful when it comes to weight loss, it doesn’t all happen at once!).
And yet, even writing all that down, things which should at least spark some sort of ‘holy jesus I need to get on this!’ reaction, has no impact. If not having a heart attack isn’t a good enough incentive, what the hell is?!
Regardless, I need to invest. I need invest in being healthy (or being better at being healthy if you will). I won’t ever be the best, but I NEED to be better.
The real question is, why don’t I want to be?