Wednesday, 20 March 2013

CONQUER WORRY

All things considered in my life, I SHOULD be happy, and yet I can say that despite a short span of time here or there I don't feel as though I've ever been properly happy. 

Here's why I should be happy at the moment;

-I have a creative, enviable job
-I live on my own
-I have no obligations to anyone (no kids/spouse)
-I am not in debt
-I have a good chunk of money in a savings account and save with each paycheck
-I am healthy (mostly)
-I'm young
-I have a loving family who care for me

So, given all of those things why I do I complain about being unhappy? Over the years I have thought extensively about this and it's become such a mismash of issues, both real and imaginary, that I have trouble separating from each other.

So, here's a confession; I'm lazy and a bit of a quitter. I don't want to be, but I am so often overcome with fear and worry that I don't even start things a lot of the time. And if I do, I tend to get overwhelmed or bored quickly and easily.

Phew, okay...that was embarrassing. I've never put it that way before, mostly because I've always pegged it on some gem from the past, or some imagined mental issues. But if I'm able to see past my own excuses and state it so simply then it's become clear that I need to learn how to flip this and become a go-getter.

I feel as though I have a truckload of issues to sort through, and I've never really had to face up to a lot of tough things in my life. I've managed to overcomplicate my life by hiding behind excuses, such as low self-esteem, shyness, and fear. I've had my moments in the past where for a time I was able to bypass these factors and have felt happy for a time. But the excuses always come back stronger and harder. Perhaps if that's the case, then one of my primary issues in maintaining happiness is letting things get to me and chip away at whatever happiness I am able to achieve.

Another small confession; before what you are reading now, I wrote 12 other paragraphs before realizing that I had been whining for 12 paragraphs and was just rambling. In the eleventh paragraph I realized that I was a quitter and when I read back a bit I realized that it would be plain for anyone else to see by paragraph 1, but it took me 10 more to see it.

I can lay out a bunch of reasons which I believe cause me to be unhappy, but it is becoming more apparent that there is only one reason why I am not;

Me.

All of the excuses and all of the reasons in the world just boil down to the simple fact that I am getting in my own way. It feels like such an overwhelming thing to conquer because I don't want to do the leg work. It's become such an embedded set of habits for me to be passive and afraid that what to other people seems like a simple thing to overcome is to me a mountain to climb. But I've already begun making my way to base camp and will start climbing as soon as I have all the proper gear together.

Between October 2012 and January 2013 I managed to sink to an extremely low place mentally. The only time I was having 'fun' was when I was too drunk to know any better. This took it's toll on my body (and wallet), which began to affect my self-esteem even further, and I let everything else that I have always fretted about overtake me. I probably didn't hide it well if you know me personally.

Starting in February, and thanks to following an idea from a friend, I decided to make some changes;

1. Limit my alcohol in February only to weekends and never while alone. 
2. Start monitoring my finances better and stop worrying about them.
3. Change my eating habits to a "Paleo-lite" lifestyle. (This means no grains, no sugars, no processed foods, and no dairy, but not worrying when I do happen to eat one of them if I have no other option)
4. Fix my overthinking through research and action.

So how have I been doing? I still get drunk, but only on the weekends and only with friends, and I'm enjoying cooking and eating healthy foods more regularly. I don't chastise myself for eating 'non-paleo' stuff on occasion, and within 3 or 4 weeks of starting to eat paleo (started mid Feb, roughly), I lost most of the gut that was damaging my self-esteem without having to pay for a gym membership and all the worry that comes with that! 

I have more energy during the day and no longer suffer from 3pm sluggishness, and some of the worry that is usually associated with following some sort of diet is just not there. I eat healthy when I can, and when I can't I go for the closest option. I've simplified my idea of food and eating and it has relieved some of the anxiety that I used to have.

I've been able to save up a bit more money while also picking up a few useful 'luxury' items as well, and I have an easy way to monitor my finances from anywhere instead of only at home or at a bank machine.

As for the really super difficult bit, correcting my overthinking, I've been reading up a lot on a few websites about shyness, fear, motivation, worry, and other aspects of life that I realize now I have been fretting over with no advantage whatsoever.

I've had the most mileage out of a few simple ways of thinking so far, and I practice these on a daily basis;

1. What other people think is none of your business
2. Do it now
3 Live only for today

I'm learning so many other things through my readings each day and have been organizing them in a crappy notebook. I found a few notebooks from my time at Ganz recently and realized that I had filled up 4 of them at least over the course of only two and a half years there, 1 and a half of which I was just a 3D artist. 

I had always had the notion that artists should have these sketch/notebooks, which contain perfect sketches and lovely handwritten treatises on all manner of intelligent things. When I looked at the mileage I got out of my crappy work notebooks, and the fact that I have only ever filled ONE sketchbook in my life, I realized it was time to throw off the preconceived ideas of what a notebook is and just have something handy to scribble in at any given moment. That idea may seem simplistic, but it's so liberating that it actually feels as though part of a weight long held is being lifted off of me.

Whenever I've had a blackbook sketchbook with me in public, there came a time that somebody would ask me to look through it and boy did that fire up the ol' worry and self-esteem engines! With a lined notebook I just scribble shit in it and then if I'd like to I can expand on ideas further on some nice loose paper or digitally. So liberating :)

--

Okay, so that was a lot of stuff, but really this post is more for me than anyone else. Sort of a personal review if you will. I feel that the strides I've made so far are beginning to take hold and even starting to nudge out some long-held bad habits, so regular reviews will probably be a good idea.

Writing out my thoughts here has been very liberating and I plan to continue to express myself more often, hopefully in a more entertaining and educational way! 

As I'm better able to organize my thoughts as my mind becomes clearer and free of worry, I'd like to start addressing specific aspects which I'm dealing with in detail, hopefully to the benefit of whoever continues to read along with me.

Thanks for reading!

- Dave

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