Changing Course

As I’m getting older, it is getting harder and harder to change course in life. This may simply be me facing the laws of physics – as I’ve gotten older, I’ve gotten a touch bit heavier, so there is more momentum carrying me in the direction I’ve been going, more work that is needed to slow down or change course. And as one of the things I want to make changes to is diet and exercise, which would bring that weight down, there is a bit of an irony there. And I normally like irony, but this one pisses me off.
To make a change, I’ve found that I really need to be conscious of the change I’m trying to make. I mean, actively conscious of it. Let’s take the diet thing. I know what is healthy and not, what is loaded with calories and what will work to fill me up without packing on the middle tire. I’m a chef, it’s part of my job to know that. However, it is also my job to taste things, so fasting pretty much means not doing my job. And it often means bowls of French fries and pieces of cheese and all the goodness that I love just lying around within arms reach.
So, I can make the decision to make a change. I can spend a couple days off trying to clean things up around the apartment, make an eating plan that will work without starving myself, and generally psych myself up for it all.
And then I go to work. And I have to think about the plan. The plan, the plan, the plan. As I’m working the pass during lunch, there is a bowl of fries pretty much right under my nose. Don’t eat the fries, don’t eat the fries, don’t eat the fries. It runs over and over in my head, and I manage to not touch them. Until something distracts me. And when that looping record, “Don’t eat the fries!”, stops, a few seconds later I often find my mouth full of fries.
But this isn’t really about a diet. This is about making a change. Or a lot of changes. Sure, diet is part of it for me. But it is the pattern of extreme concentration and not allowing myself to be distracted to get these things done. From what I’ve learned in therapy, my mixture of depression, anxiety and a very introverted personality is not the best combination to charge forward and maintain that. It is more like building myself up to charge, starting the charge, and when the first hiccup hits, retreating to regather myself and replan. I’m a great planner, not so great executing the battle plan.
Which brings me back to this. Not just this piece, but what I’ve been wanting to do with this website. I used to write and read. I used to do it a lot, many years ago. In college, there was a point where I was taking 3 PoliSci and 2 history classes (which is all reading and writing), working at the Michigan Daily, and still reading a fiction book a week (generally a Tom Clancy-type political thriller) and write screenplays and fan fiction.
But writing is a muscle, and mine has atrophied something fierce, barely able to put together a sentence that I can live with (rereading what I have so far is making me wince). I once ran the Baltimore Marathon, but don’t run now, and physically, it is like I haven’t run before. I have to get going, put in the work to get going again.
I suspect writing works the same way. At least I hope that it does. Because while the ability to write has gotten weak, the desire is still there. Essay ideas, jokes, stories – this one could make a good short story, this one a screenplay, this one an actual play – they fill the gaps in my head when I’m not working on the day-to-day duties I have to keep up with.
An essay a day. Maybe a couple paragraphs, a few pages, whatever I can do. That’s my idea of how to get back into writing. To clear the clutter of ideas and thoughts out of my head and putting it somewhere. That’s why I named this blog as I did. It’s something I think I should be able to do. “Think” is a key word there, as I laid out the issues I’ve had getting going on these things.
Because there is one bit of information to keep in mind… this blog is the Matrix. It has been here before, I’ve written some form of this essay and posted it. This was a New Year’s resolution, and here we are nearing the end of February. I had a WordPress issue shortly after that early January post (my first one didn’t happen right on the first as planned… another sign that I’ve had issues getting this off of the ground), so I had to start over after 2 entries. And by start over, I mean rebuild the site (15 minutes) and then sit around for 7 weeks or so thinking, “hey, I should do something about that.”
So, here we are. Talking about it. But talk isn’t really worth anything. Heck, all of this isn’t worth the paper it is written on, which is even less than when we actually used paper to write on,. I can make this promise to myself, I can make it out to the universe (which in this form is the couple of people who might stumble across this), but until I do something about it I’m just full of shit. And I hate when people think that of me. Time to get the hell off my ass, go get on my ass in front of my computer, my tablet, my phone, whichever means I have to contribute for the day, and do something about it.
So, here we go….