Remembering Oneself After the Great Forgetting

I don’t know when the actual forgetting of myself began. I think I consciously knew I was sort of neglecting myself for a long time, but a lot of that began with what had to become a “new” normal after major changes in my life. My life different, I found myself doing different things under the guise of “me” time.

Once upon a world, though, the best kind of “me” day I could have would have included a hike, bike ride, or gym visit, followed by a cafe for some writing, possibly haunting a couple bookshops, and ending the day with groceries before presumably cooking myself a pretty good meal.

These days, those days are few and far between. Today, though, I’ve put the brakes on and that’s precisely the day I’m having.

I honestly can’t tell you the last time I regularly went to coffee shops to write. I just don’t know. Years, probably. Years. That’s likely the biggest change for the negative my life’s taken these past few years. I’ve gotten away from the act of coffee shop writing. I’m the kind of person that once sat down with a coffee and a 400-page book. I started and finished the whole book in one day at a coffee shop. That was a pretty good day, too.

I don’t know if I mentioned it, but I’ve decided to write a book. About what, well, trust me when I say it’s going to be a huge journey for me. Today’s coffee shop visit is for writing the bones of the book, as Anne Lamott would say. Realistically, I see this book consuming the next year to 18 months of my life.

To tell the truth, it scares the living hell out of me.

To write this book means I have to finally come to terms with a lot of the areas I’ve been trying to pretend don’t afflict my life… like living out loud, embracing the inner vixen, saying what you think. Truth is, I’ve been trying to be all the things I’ve wanted to be, but it’s been obvious I’ve been trying. Meaning, it’s an effort, an act, a show. It’s not really me because I don’t believe it. I don’t buy it, and to the more astute observer in my life, right now, I don’t think I can sell it.

But that’s what 2008’s for. It’s one thing to sit around quietly suspecting something about yourself, but it’s another thing entirely to turn the lights on, point, and shout at it. Everything about myself has felt like a bad-fitting pair of jeans for a few years now. On the right person, it might do wonders, but on me it’s needing a lot of work and just doesn’t cut it.

And instead of sitting around thinking about it and letting it eat me up, I’m getting out there and doing something about it. I’m trying to change every area of my life in the next 12 months. From finance and fitness to sex and shopping, everything is getting an overhaul, and it starts today.

I’ve been sitting here taking deep breaths and feeling a little emotionally overwhelmed after just having a moment of realizing just how true the statement about my life feeling like bad jeans really happens to be, because I asked myself “Why does that bother you so much?” as I was writing, and then I actually heard myself answering “Because I know how good I can be.” Having that moment, just realizing that that’s the answer is a pretty beautiful and powerful moment.

I know how good I can be. And it’s not about being good for you or her or him or them, it’s about being that good for the person I plan to have a lifelong romance with. Myself.

It’s about letting go of all the bullshit that’s come my way in the last few years, the negative people, the misfortune, the bad timing, and realizing that life is infinitely bigger than this stupid soap operaesque corner of it I inhabit, and all I need to do is knock down a couple walls and I’ll be right back in the beautiful swirl of it all:

Life. That mystery of all mysteries, the original all-you-can-eat buffet. Life. Fill me up and watch me burst with life.

It’s like this nightmare I had once. You’ll love my version of the nightmare, it’s like Einstein and Dali getting together over beers, but I can’t convey the Fincher-esque editing in my head that gives my dreams some crazy visuals. There I am, a sunny, beautiful day, walking along tall oceanside cliffs in PEI or Dover. There’s a long fenceline over the top of the cliff, as far as the eye can see, and right behind me’s a large sign reading “Point A”. Off in the distance is a beautiful summit and spotting scope, and a sign that reads “Point B”. Somehow I understand that my only goal is to get to Point B from Point A. I set off on my merry way. A few moments later, some old guy stops and asks me directions. I cheerily tell him how to get wherever, and then mosey on only to look up and see that Point B now seems a little farther away. Almost right away, someone else stops me to ask me to break a five. Grudgingly, I do. I continue walking. Point B is now twice as far away. The cycle continues. I start, someone stops me, and then I’m further and further away from what I really want until it seems I’m completely out of sight of Point B with a lineup of people wanting me, literally.

That’s when, in real life, I woke up and wrote on a page next to bed. “Fuck off! It’s my life! Let me live it. Solve your own problems!” I went back to sleep, and the next person that stopped me, I simply said no. Then I almost immediately reached Point B around a previously unseen bend.

The point is, life distracts us and takes us away from what it is we know deep down inside makes us happy. For whatever reason, we tell ourselves our unhappiness is part of what comes from being a good citizen and doing what needs doing. Life’s not bad, it’s not great, but it’s not bad, right? Until one day “not bad” changes definitions and the realization hits that it’s just not good enough any more.

So that’s where I am. I’m there, realizing that all my fears about Point B being so far off in the distance just aren’t true. It’s right there for the taking, and deciding I want it? The biggest step I need to take. Now it’s about enjoying what journey is ahead of me as I start getting where I want to be.

Anyhow. I thought I might share a little on that since it’s the weekend afore New Year’s eve and I’m betting I’m not the only person who’ll be doing a little reflecting on where they’re at today versus where they might be a year from now. 365 days of opportunities. How lucky are we?

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