I read a quote in my latest self help manual yesterday which has made me think hard overnight about my motivations in life.
It was a simple enough soundbyte but (as a lot of time is the case) a small, unexpected thought (triggered often when you least expect it) can pry open a crack and let you look at what lies beneath.
I’m sure to a greater or lesser extent we are all creatures of plurality.
By this I mean we have multiple and often competing facets to our personalities. We may for instance be prim and proper on the outside – but inside hide more mischievous or naughty streaks that occasionally get released.
From time to time we may even wonder which of these is the ‘real‘ us – as they in turn take control of our actions at key or unexpected moments.
The truth is we are probably ALL of these things – depending on the time of day (at least in my case).
The throwaway quote that piqued my interest yesterday was this:
‘People say my phone sucks. No it doesn’t. The shittiest cell phone in the world is a miracle. Your life sucks. Around the phone.’
I suppose this hit home because (despite my windswept and bohemian aims lately to gradually need less and covet fewer material things) I have recently found myself continually drawn to looking at new phones.
My phone, despite being a couple of years old is indeed a miracle. I’m writing this post on it, as I’ve written nearly 3/4’s of my entire blog. It’s also provided all of the photos for my website, and occasionally videos too, as well as capturing every move I make with GPS and monitoring my health progress every second of the day. It also keeps me in contact with the world and does all of this quietly and miraculously from within my pocket.
Yet I still want a ‘better’ one.
What possible reason can there be for this?
It makes no sense. It does absolutely everything I need it to and much more besides.
I have no such impulse when it comes to my car.
My trusty VW has travelled nearly 169,000 miles and I ultimately want it to get to 238,000.
This is no random number plucked out of the air – it’s because that’s the distance to to the moon and I think it would be really cool to own a car that I could say I’d driven that far.
If a bit wears out on it I get it replaced with a new one.
Technologically speaking my car is a dinosaur fossil and my phone is a flying saucer – full of indescribable miniature wonders.
Maybe, much like dietary and exercise related changes I’ve over-estimated my ability to rapidly modify this aspect of my personality and underplayed it’s significance.
I’ve wanted new things and gadgets for so long and used them (in a similar way to alcohol or food) to paper over emotional cracks that I no longer truly know why I want them – I just quietly obsess, turning prospective purchases over and over in my mind.
Do I really want a new phone or am I unconsciously diverting my attention away from other issues?
I almost certainly don’t need one.
I know I don’t have the spare money to get one, or an income that would enable me to justify it.
So why can’t I stop thinking about it? What else is going on deep inside that’s making it difficult to get around this?
Unless you haven’t picked up on it today I’m in a very reflective mood. I’m also (if I’m honest) struggling a bit in my mental battle with my worst impulses (food – I’m looking at you) and I’m more downbeat than usual because of it.
I want awesome weight loss on Saturday but I don’t think it’s going to happen.
In two weeks I will have been attending Slimming World for a year – and in that time I’ve achieved much – but sometimes (and this is one of those times) I end up feeling like it’s never enough.
When I’m like this I feel that there is always more that I could have done, extra effort I could have made and things I could have achieved but haven’t.
Ask me what they are.
See what I say.
The sad truth is that I honestly couldn’t tell you at the moment. It’s just the way I feel.
It’s ridiculous. I know it is. It’s utter madness and it irritates me that my mind is still capable of unfairly berating myself in this way – but it’s still a fact of life sometimes.
I think that this may go some way to explaining my phone obsession.
I do know that currently I feel like I’m at a crossroads of some sort – but I don’t know which way to turn. It’s foggy there and although I can see the start of all the roads at the junction I can’t see where they lead, and I’m unure about my motivations for travelling down them.
Do they just look nice or will they take me somewhere that I want to be at the end of the journey?
Sometimes I feel liberated by the unlimited possibilities lying in front of me and at other times (like now) I feel a creeping sense of paralysis.
Maybe part of my new process involving self help manuals and introspection is the catalyst here. Maybe I’m confronting things and thoughts about myself that I’ve previously shied away from – and trying to make sense of it all.
I’m still in many ways torn between missing parts of my old life, where I was comfortable but unhappy – and at the same time enjoying my current existence where I’m happy but far less secure.
I’m constantly wondering where the balance lies.
I’m also coming to terms with the fact that unlike the life I had before, which was static and staid the future is fluid and seems ever changing.
In order to adapt to that I too need to be different and continually agile. I probably won’t have to re-define myself once either, but many times.
Furthermore the ‘security’ I felt in my old job was (I now realise) a complete illusion – and a convenient fiction that I sold myself so that I’d keep getting up in the morning to go somewhere that I didn’t want to be.
Ultimately, like everything does, it ended and I had to become something new whether I wanted to or not.
Thankfully by the time it happened I was ready and I welcomed it.
Some of my obsession with exercise is tied to this and I’ve become so driven partially because I needed to feel capable of physically taking on the world around me.
Thankfully as a consequence I no longer feel threatened by it, unable to move through it, over it, under it or in it.
That’s another matter internet. I still don’t feel like I’ve cracked that.
But I’m working on it, and no new phone in the world will help. It has to come from within.
I need more coffee.