118 // Convincing Yourself

I’m waiting for the weekend again. This will be my last rushed morning for a while, I hope. I’ve been battling car troubles for quite a few months now and have had to find my way without transportation of my own. Not having a vehicle limits your freedom of movement. It limits your feeling of autonomy. It’s damn depressing.

I know this is quite a first-world problem to have, and I know that I am lucky to be able to afford not just a vehicle but the repairs it needs, but after years of battling driving anxiety, time without my car means setbacks.

The good news is the problem might have finally been identified and resolved and my sense of freedom could be restored as early as this evening. I already feel that inkling of impending doom in my gut, but the sense of excitement layered on top lets me know I have made so much progress through these fears.


I’ve been reflecting on the difference between the things I say I want and what my actions show that I want.

What I mean is, we pick out these little habits we want to have and think we can simply add each on top of the person we already are, but we fail to consider that since we aren’t currently the *kind* of person who does those things, we aren’t really the kind of person who truly wants to do those things either.

I say I want to work out, but I don’t. What I want is to be the kind of person who wants to work out. An enthusiastic 30-minute workout after work every day does not align with the person I am today. If it did, it wouldn’t be so hard, so uncomfortable, so damn frustrating. I wouldn’t have to fight, and bargain, and threaten, and shame myself into it. If I was the kind of person who wanted to work out, nothing could keep me from doing it.

To become that person, I have to change more than my schedule. I have to do more than want it. I have to become a person who wants it. I have to grow and change into someone different from who I am now, and that’s a hard thing to accept. I want to be me, minus 10 pounds. I want to be me, but feel solid, strong, and capable. I want to be me, but not me.

So, how do you become different? The easiest way? Simply pretend. If you pretend you are someone who eats less sugar, works out every day, excels at their job, writes every morning, reads every evening, if you pretend every moment to be the kind of person who does those things, pretty soon you won’t be able to tell the difference. You won’t even want to think about it.

And I try not to. It may be too soon to claim success, but I did start working out over a week ago and have kept up the habit every day but one. What has helped is turning off my mind. It helps to tell myself that I am now a person that does this, and then I slip into autopilot. Change clothes, get water, get the hand weights, and start the workout video—move, move move!

I don’t come back to myself until it’s over and by then the feeling of accomplishment far outweighs the exhaustion and pain.

The person you want to be is not the person you are now with better habits. The person you want to be is wiser, calmer, determined, and stronger-willed. That is what makes those better habits easier. Becoming them takes little more than convincing yourself that you already are.

118 // Ever Better and Better

I woke to rain still falling this morning. I normally hate the rain, but right now it’s comforting to have the skies mirror my mood. I’m imagining the world is trying to comfort me, to show me it understands, to give me space to feel whatever I feel without judgement.

The universe has been piling the pain on lately. Each day seems to bring some new heartache, but I’m learning that if you look hard enough, each day brings its own joys and successes too. They are just harder to see and it takes many more of them to outweigh the same quantity of bad, but the more you look the more you see and the more of those little goods you collect the easier the heartbreaks become to bear.

One step back, sure, but two steps forward always follow and in the end, it’s progress all the same. I welcome today’s ups and downs and anxiously await tonights totaling.

It’s going to be an unusually busy day, but that’s ok. One day out of all the rest of the week isn’t too much for me to give and anyway I still have my evenings and early mornings and the rest of the week looks brighter and more hopeful from here. I just have to deal with right now. Not “get through it”. I don’t want to waste my life anymore “getting through it”. I want to face it, fix it, finish it and move on to an ever better and better and better right nows.

They are getting closer day by day. I can almost feel them.

119//366

Today was a good day, like, a really good day! The HR department is back in the office at work and my promotion has finally been made official! In addition, it’s very possible that the raise I will be offered will be much, much more than I had expected. I am ecstatic! I am elated! I am so happy and optimistic for the future and all the things I’m going to be able to do now I feel I’m about to explode! This is what I’ve been waiting for. This is what I’ve been working for and it’s finally happened.

I only wish I could go out and celebrate. This news calls for a couple dozen oysters, a bottle of wine, and a rich dessert. Instead, I’m stuck at home settling for whatever liquor we have in the cabinet and a bland dinner I planned a week ago. I know this lockdown is the best thing, the right thing, but damn is it a bummer.

Still, this is amazing news. I feel suddenly more valid and worthy than I did just this morning when I woke up. I’ve known for weeks I got the position, yes, but to have it become real made me feel more real. I shouldn’t wrap so much of my worth up in my work, but I have been feeling so useless and so unseen these past weeks. I needed this and right or wrong it feels good and that’s all that matters.

Interestingly, as I was celebrating this momentous win and thinking about all the ways my quality of life was going to improve, I was also listening to Laurie Santos’s lectures in The Science of Well-Being and realized that the happiness I feel right now is temporary. Chances are, in a year or two, this won’t be enough. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or not—it’s certainly a very human thing—but, if I could, I’d for it to be enough, or at least be exciting for a good while longer than that.