Or lack thereof, is a problem, and here it is New Year’s Day. A time to promise to live better and control expenses, write that novel, shop that novel, find an agent, not live on credit cards, get fit and somewhere in all that you remember to be grateful and enjoy each monotonous, lonely day.
And year after year we find a dozen reasons not to live better; I don’t have to live by society’s standards, I am who I am, I accept me as I am, extra weight and all. Right? Isn’t that what it’s all about? Who will care if I don’t finish that novel. Take up Yoga? All that getting up and down at my age-ugh. TaiChi? It will take me years to get the hang of it, plus there’s the problem with my ankles. The very idea of getting dressed, climbing into my car, to drive to a gym where I pay someone yell at me that I can do ‘one more’ is too terrible to even think about.
I think it’s something innate that leads us to self sabotage. Maybe part of the Survival of the Fittest sort of thing? Self defeating people would tend to thin the herd. (‘We’ being the un-physically fit, socially awkward type and less likely to reproduce.) So it’s built in, this self doubt and the media plays on those very insecurities. We see only perfect people on television, and we expect each other to be perfect and we make celebrities out of random odd people who keep getting married to thugs or having plastic surgery. Definitely a ‘thinning of the herd’ type of thing. And the way I see it, it’s our jobs as humans to break through the self doubt to change our lives.
We’re getting ‘dumbed down’ instead of ‘smarted up.’ We don’t teach our children to think. We teach them what to think. And only our schools teach our children, not the family, no society at large. And outside of Sesame Street, television is getting dumber and so are we. And less social. We use ATMs and self checkout stands at the grocers so we don’t have to deal with other people. Most people don’t even know what a paperback is anymore. We have ereaders so we can play games while we’re on the toilet. We get 300 channels on our televisions and are entertained by endless news casts, reruns, and ‘reality’ shows. We have 52″ flat screen plasma televisions (with HD) and watch football games on the 5″ screen on our cellphone. We shop online and wonder why it didn’t feel like Christmas this year?
Yet our motivation to better ourselves seems weak, if it is there at all. Are you unmotivated
because you’re depressed, or depressed because you’re unmotivated? How do you stay motivated? With the pride of accomplishment? What about love who you are now? I don’t need to wear the “right” fashion to be accepted. I don’t need to drop 20 lbs. Plenty of women are carrying far more than that. Who’s looking at me any more any way? This summer I bought a bikini for the first time in years, extra 20 lbs and all and went to the pool. I figured, plenty of women go to the pool wearing less and weighing more.
How do you stop your brain from asking, “‘none of this will matter in 50 years,’ so just relax, slow down, enjoy your life, don’t stress about running marathons and eating gluten-free, polyunsaturated fatty foods.
I find it hard to maintain a healthy balance between things I should do and things I’d like to do, and things I have to do. My motivation in all three is down to nil. I just can’t work up the interest to care. I like writing my blog, doing genealogy, and now I’m volunteering for other things at the dog shelter, like photographing the animals and keeping the animals updated on the website. But after I volunteer I regret it, because I don’t know if I really want to. You know, get all involved with people and rules and other weirdness.
I feel restless, like I’m letting my life pass me by. But I am content to write my blog, read others’, exercise as much as I do, running errands, and in general being a housewife. Though I am not content every day. I’ll stick with Tai Chi. Something I’ve always wanted to learn. I understand it takes years to become expert and I’m not doing too much else with the rest of my life. I’m trying to treat everyone with kindness and we know that’s not always easy. I’m content right now–well, close to it– but will I become discontent next year, or next week? Disappointed in myself? Yes, and nothing will change.
At what point does contentment become acceptance? And how much should I accept?