So, a Twitterer made the comment that, with the holidays almost here, the annual malaise of reflection and regret would soon be upon him. And I thought, “Wow, this is gonna be the first time ever I sit down at the end of a year and go, “Holy fuck. I accomplished THAT?””
16 months ago, I acknowledged a few things to myself. I hated my job, hated who I had become, hated the way I treated my friends, hated the negativity I was constantly caught in, and hated my body. I was initially overcome with despondency. With so much to work on, where in the fuck would I start?
The trouble with being an unhappy person, or at the very least unhappy with your life, is precisely that: Where in the fuck do you start?
With me, I can tell you two things from experience: One, changing your job might very well change your life. Two, changing your job could be one of the biggest mistakes you make if you’re unhappy with your life, because, odds are, what you’re unhappy with really has little to do with what you do for a living.
So, although MY life-change began with changing my job, I’m telling you, I don’t recommend that. Not the least because of the global economy, but also because I left my job three years ago because I thought I was unhappy with it. Turned out, my life was the problem. When I changed jobs last year, it was to go back to the one I initially quit, which I now love like I did the first year I worked there.
So, let’s skip the whole “work” part of changing your life, because, fact is, what you do for a living doesn’t define you as much as you think it does. Fixing the REST of your life will make it easier to fix the job thing down the line, and by the time you get there, the economy will be improving.
One of the first things I did when I decided I was going onto this path of self-improvement was to acknowledge that this could take me literally years to get to the place I want to be. I didn’t want my quest for change to be a punitive thing whereby I’d force myself into some Lutheran lifestyle of restraint and denial. I wanted to have fun and still enjoy the things I’ve always felt gave my life worth, like slack and food and my time alone. So, I wrote on the opening page that old cliché: “Rome was not built in a day.”
So, forget your fast-food gotta-have-it-now bullshit modern thinking and remember that it can take a lifetime to become someone you love, and it ain’t about the outcome, it’s about it being the best it can be on a daily basis, and “best” is entirely subjective depending on where you are NOW. Not tomorrow, not yesterday, but today, this very day.
Changing your life means you have to take stock of everything that needs changing. Why do you dislike who you’ve become? Who did you think you’d be? What will it take for you to get into the ballpark of being THAT person? What’s impeding you? Where do you want to be in five years? How do you feel about yourself, your body, your health? Do you really care about the people in your life, or are they just remnants of a time before? If they’re out of touch with who you want to be, what kind of people would you rather be around? What brings you joy? What makes you hurt? When do you laugh most? When do you feel your best?
It means finding a reason to believe in yourself, that you can be loved, that you’re worth the work it takes to become an awesome person, that you deserve the time it takes to work on yourself, that just because you’re unhappy with who you are doesn’t mean you’ve failed, you’ve just gone off track. But that can, and will, change.
There are two things you gotta know in life: Where you been, and where you’re goin’. Sitting in a car with no idea of either where you are or where you need to be doesn’t do you much good, so how is intellectual limbo in life doing any of us any good?
So that’s the first step.
For me, my realization came with the disapproval on my doctor’s face for how fat and unhealthy I was getting, followed by going to work with the most depressing, negative employer on the planet, and how toxic my life as a whole had become. I wasn’t FUN to be around anymore and I couldn’t remember how I’d become that way, aside from standard depression. I remembered the cute, healthy kid I once was and wondered how I ever got to be the negative, unhappy, fat, unhealthy person I’d became, and then… then I got angry. At myself. Then I realized I was better than who I was projecting. I realized enough was enough and I had something to prove.
It didn’t just miraculously happen, though. Deciding doesn’t mean doing. It took me months to get my game on. I’ve had lapses, bad patches, life-interruptions, and struggles, but through it all, I’ve stayed pointed in the right general direction, and that’s all you can do. Storms don’t mean a ship’s not gonna make it across an ocean, after all. It just means a little sea-sickness and turmoil’s gonna hit before ya get there. Take some Gravol, you know? Deal with it. You’ll get there.
Next time we’ll tackle the real-life steps I took to get from unhappy and self-loathing to 50 pounds lighter, working a job I love, and getting my life headed in the right direction. Because that’s all it takes… steps. Start throwing all those steps together and sooner or later yer gonna have some real distance gained. So, we’ll go there next time.
REMEMBER: I got stuff! Want my stuff? My Smutwear shop is up and running. Everything from “Spankworthy” thongs to “You’ll take it. And like it.” t-shirts. Order now for Christmas, and put wine money in my pocket. A noble thing for you to do! Support your Steff (and her wine cellar [as if] ) by getting stuff! Yeah! This one says “Over Easy (some of the time)” — because, hey, switching is good for you. There’s more stuff. Nine designs. I’ll be rolling out some plainer variations, too, for people who like simple designs. Stay tuned.