I’ve been twalking with a friend after work today and I feel as if most of the conversation has been about me. I don’t like monopolising time with people and banging on and on just about myself but I’ve been struggling to work though how I feel over the last week.
All day long because of this my thoughts have been quite deep.
I barely noticed that I was standing in a huge pile of sheep sh*t today as I stopped to drink in the wide open sky and lush green fields around me.
I feel like I haven’t been on enough walks like this recently and it was nice to get out and shake off the day in the office. It’s been raining and windy all day and up until this evening not too great for exercise.
I hate it when I can’t go for a spirited walk because when I do it really helps to order my thoughts. I’ve been thinking about my future a lot and I’m really stumped – because when I try to imagine what I will be doing in years to come I realise that I still don’t fully understand my past.
When I recall my life it seems like I’ve spent almost all of it entirely lacking in ambition or drive.
I can’t say that I’ve ever understood the pursuit of material wealth or outward displays of status – and frankly I still don’t.
I mean instead that in the past I’ve been content to drift through the world like a twig on a stream.
I’ve usually waited for moments where the waters I’m propelled by become choppy or even threaten to consume me completely. I’ve used the ‘tides of life’ to inform my decision making process for as long as I can remember and in certain respects I’m aware that this aspect of me still plays a large part in determining my choices.
It would definitely be true to say that it was this lazy brinkmanship that started me on my current path – and that it wasn’t until I saw my own rather dark reflection in the face of my mother (a woman that I had little respect or love for) that I pulled back from the metaphorical edge of my personal precipice.
Most of the time I really don’t care what the reason was that started all this – I’m just glad it happened. However, there are moments (usually when I see elements of my old thought processes resurfacing) where I start to analyse how and why I’ve become who I am now and I keep coming to the conclusion that it isn’t because I’m a go-getter.
I fear it’s because I’m someone who is terrified of the consequences of inactivity rather than someone that’s goal oriented with an ideal future in mind to strive for.
Whenever I start thinking about this I look at things which I feel I’m driven to do and ask what informs that need.
For instance I’m still walking a lot and that hasn’t diminished at all.
In real terms (bearing in mind that I currently work 37.5 hours a week) I fit in a lot more now than I was doing when I was just focusing on my weight and was unemployed. In the calendar month since I started work I’ve walked over 310 miles and 620,000 steps.
So – what’s causing this behaviour?
I often joke that I’m a bit OCD.
I’m not though really – and that would be doing an injustice to people that genuinely suffer from this problem. I don’t feel the need to turn a light switch on and off repeatedly so I doubt it’s this.
People regularly tell me it’s because I’m determined.
Often I don’t feel determined though. I just carry on and on putting one foot in front of the other because it makes me feel good. It doesn’t seem particularly unusual anymore – nor does it seem to take much in the way of willpower most of the time, so I’m not convinced it’s determination.
People have also (enthusiastically) agreed in the past that I’m at times pretty stubborn – and I’ve wondered if it’s sheer bloody mindedness that’s the root cause of my progress.
I don’t necessarily think this is true either – as a lot of my old behaviour in this respect manifested itself in an inflexibility when faced with change. Nowadays I try to enthusiastically say ‘yes’ to most things and just see what happens rather than my previous default ‘no’.
I guess it’s maybe more accurate to say that a combination of all of these things in larger and smaller measures have combined to enable me to be who I am now – but even then I feel they’re not the whole picture.
The thing is that I’d really like the reason for why I’ve come so far to be more than ‘I hated myself so much that there was no option but to change‘.
If I believe that the sole basis for my metamorphosis is the same behavioural trait that I’ve always had (wait until things are too much to bear and then act) then how do gather the self belief to move forward in other aspects of my life – such as my career and relationships (both of which are still lacking any significant direction or plan).
This brings me back to ambition.
In truth I have always viewed ambition only as aspirational thinking related to employment or wealth.
If I’m honest I’ve also probably had a very negative view of it in others and saw them as very different or even alien to me.
Recently however (around 9-12 months ago) a good friend pointed out to me that although I wasn’t interested in either of these things that I was actually very ambitious.
I just aspired to different things in life.
Above all else I wanted happiness, health, love, friendship and inner peace.
In truth I have realised recently that I’ve always wanted these things. What I’ve struggled with is not knowing how to obtain them and what they actually meant. In the process of trying to deal with the vacuum that their absence created instead I buried my lack of fulfilment under alcohol and food.
This behaviour continued until paradoxically I ended up creating a situation where I had almost exactly none of what I wanted or needed.
The more I think about this the more I lose sleep. I don’t want to repeat my mistakes.
I’ve had another night where I’m pondering on what comes next – and what I’m going to do in the coming phases of my life when I reach my goal weight.
In many ways this is a terrifying prospect because getting to the top of a mountain means one of two things. Either you decide to stay on the mountain and make it your home or you end up having to make your way back down.
Personally I plan to live at high altitude (it has a better view) but what I do while I’m up there is still up for debate.
I refuse to believe for a moment that reaching a ‘normal’ (I hate that word) weight will be the end of my forward impetus. When I get there I need to have something waiting there for me. I have to have a goal to do something else – to move forward in another way and to improve another aspect of me.
There has to be more – but at the moment I don’t know what that is or how I start it…
In some respects maybe this is a good thing. To remain in at least partially unfulfilled in some area of your life can only be a plus – because without a hunger for improvement there’s no need to get out of bed.
I feel irritable though.
Like I have an itch I can’t reach.
I can only describe the sensation as a need to search for something but not knowing why or what it is – and because of that is remains just out of reach and intangiable.
One thing is for sure – I’m not going to find the answer in the fields of Warwickshire tonight. There are just sheep and lots of pumpkins.
At the very least I hope I’ve laid the groundwork for some solid sleep.