I love Fight Club, but when Tyler says “It’s only after we’ve lost everything that we are free to do anything” I’m not entirely sure I agree.
I get the context – when you’ve got nothing to lose, consequences don’t matter – but I’ve been feeling similarly liberated of late, if not from consequences then from constraints. The thing about that freedom is that if you don’t use it, you don’t lose it, you just… waste it. Here’s what I mean:
- I didn’t have to write a blog post today.
- I didn’t have to wake up before 11 this morning.
- I didn’t have to hit the gym once in the morning and again in the evening.
- I didn’t have to get a salad at lunch (it was a Caesar, but still)
No one was going to give me the slightest bit of flak for not doing any of these things. Not my friends, not my coworkers, not even my boss – flexible hours and all that jazz. And I earn enough money that I’m covering all my costs and living comfortably in a decent apartment. I’ve got no credit card debt, I’m making solid progress on my student loans, and while I’m not socking away as much as I should for retirement, I’m travelling a lot – for all my faults, I feel like I’ve done a really great job so far of getting out to see the world. And yet, I’m feeling that I could do a whole lot better, and that it’s not going to happen on it’s own.
This is the unvarnished truth of how my typical week looks:
- Monday: Work, cheap wings at Hooley’s, trivia night at Lieutenant’s Pump, karaoke at Atomic Rooster.
- Tuesday: Work, movie theatre popcorn for dinner, Netflix, Reddit, and POF when I get home, unless I end up at Overkill for karaoke.
- Wednesday: Work later than other weeknights, fast food dinner, Reddit/POF for an hour then karaoke at Hooley’s. Once every couple months, swap Reddit/POF for performing at Yuk Yuk’s.
- Thursday: Work, maybe hit the gym unless there’s a networking event to attend, head home for Netflix, Reddit, and POF.
- Friday: Work, post-work drinks with coworkers and friends, the occasional 67s game, and karaoke at Hooley’s.
- Saturday: Tell myself I’ll go to the gym, have Double Original combo (with Poutine!) from Harvey’s on the way only to feel lethargic and go back home. Ask Twitter if anything’s happening, receive no reply, go to Zaphod’s (I’ll probably know somebody there).
- Sunday: Tell myself I’ll go to the gym, have Double Original combo (with Poutine!) from Harvey’s on the way only to feel lethargic and go back home. Ask Twitter if anything’s happening, receive no reply, go to Babylon (I’ll probably know somebody there).
It’s really lame that every single day in that list has happened as described to the letter probably 4-5 times this year, and we’re only 12 weeks into 2012. There’s some good stuff on there, but this isn’t a schedule I can point to with pride. It’s not a schedule I can point to and say “well, there’s a perfectly good explanation for this.” There’s no good reason why things ended up this way, and I’m not getting much out of it personally, professionally, or romantically. Contrary to what I’ve been told is my reputation, when I’m out of a relationship, I might fool around once every 2-3 months, and my batting average on POF for landing more substantial relationships would shock you.
So: I’m changing it up. Just about everything in my life that’s improved has gotten there through diligence and dedication, so I know that the capacity to improve and kick ass exists within me. I just think I’ve been dishonest with myself about how awesome Wednesday Night Karaoke with 6 people in attendance can realistically be (that one night with the British guys in 2009 notwithstanding). This is going to take a conscious, deliberate effort, one that’s unlikely to pay any dividends in the short term, but hopefully as I push myself to hit the gym aggressively, eat better, and stop using “you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take” as a rationale to go out drinking alone, things will gradually improve.
Or they won’t, in which case I’ll have a new reality to reboot. I can live with that.
Related: This book
, which I read a few months ago but finally seems to be sinking in now.