Best life or bust

Why, yes, I did eat a Klondike bar nearly every day this week.

I hate to admit it but…I’m not living my best life.

I’m pretty content with how things are, but I’m not creating the life I imagine.

And I don’t mean that I feel like I should be walking the Appalachian Trail or climbing Mt. Everest, though both would be pretty cool. (Parts of the Appalachian Trail go right through this area, so I could spend a day hiking it.)

I’m talking smaller things.

For example:

• I want to eat better. I’ve been eating shit food lately. I’m talking ice cream, French fries, candy bars. (Good food, but shit food for the body.) There’s no reason to be eating like this so often, particularly when I WANT to eat better. It’s not like I don’t care. I do care. And still.

• I want to become a better cook. But am I cooking anything lately? No. Do I go out to eat constantly for lunch? Yes. Do I buy meals that I could have made at home? Yes. Does it irritate me? Sometimes. Could I change this? Yes. Have I? Not so far this week.

• I want to read more. I take my book everywhere I go and I still haven’t made it past page nine. And it’s a good book. Because I fall asleep in bed. Because I get distracted by news alerts. Because I start playing Words With Friends. Because there’s an episode of Handmaid’s Tale to watch. If I want to read more books, I need to prioritize. Is that within my control? Of course it is. Have I made the change? Not so far. But I’m honestly trying.

• I want to make more time for sketching. Have I? Not really. Part of it is because I draw a blank when I open the book. I scribble a few inconsequential lines and decide I don’t know what to draw. All I have to do is let the pen drift around the page and do what it wants. Have I done that? Not yet. But I will.

• I want to walk to work more. Have I lately? No. I’ve opted to sleep in instead.

The commencement speaker at school (Chimamanda Adichie) told the audience to “put the damn phones down. Go read a book. Go talk to some people.” I appreciated this command, though it was a little awkward because I was uploading her photo to Instagram on my phone as she was saying it. I do spend too much time in front of screens. It’s part of my job and it’s become a bit of a reflex in my personal life. I’ll go into the bathroom to get ready for work and will stand around for 20 minutes, soaking in the warmth of the bathroom heater, reading headlines, checking Facebook, etc. Maybe if I got in and out of the shower faster I could walk to work. I’m hoping to try two things. One is to put down the damn phone after 5pm and not look at it again until right before bedtime. I do have to think about work and keep an eye on issues coming through. The other is when I go on my next vacation, I may try to take a hiatus completely and let work know I will not be available at all during that time. I think that would be a real challenge, to not look at the phone at all for five days or so.

I remember being in Dublin way back in 2007 with no phone. There was no way for anyone to reach me if I didn’t reach out to them. I had to go to a computer coffee shop twice that week and pay to get on the internet to check my email. It’s hard to imagine being that disconnected today.

And back to living my best life. The thing that I find frustrating is that the goals above are not so lofty—they are perfectly realistic and achievable and yet here I am, not really doing them though there’s nothing stopping me. I don’t know if it’s a lack of initiative, poor time management or what, but it bums me out. I need to get this shit together.


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