I am endlessly entertained by myself in 2011. I'm sitting in the recliner this morning on a glorious day off, reading, sipping coffee and thinking. By the way, reading and sipping coffee is my number one way to relax, my most enjoyable moment. I would choose it over whiskey any time. How's that for a shocker?
The thinking involved plotting how I'm going to attack the rest of this year. Summer is gone spiritually; it will officially end on September 1. It meant nothing to me; too many cold days, rainy days, and many of the beautiful days were, of course, work days. I wasted it and it mocked me.
Four months laid out ahead of me to DO. This is what amused me. I was thinking positively; OK what do I have to do to greet 2012 with a smile? How can I make myself proud of myself? I experienced these thoughts as if I was watching or listening to somebody else. Because in reality that is exactly what is happening.
I have changed. Internally. They say change has to come from within and that is perfectly accurate. I can feel it. I know it. I breathe it. I have been trying to change for approximately nine or ten years. Seven years definitely; turning fifty was a major motivator. But I remember at forty eight already dreading my fiftieth. That was when the drive to stay alive ( I was inspired to sloganize), the need and desire to change originated. "He was born in the winter of his forty eighth year."
But you have to be ready to change. I have been trying to force it since then with no success. Continuously falling back into the welcoming arms of Crown Royal while simultaneously shunning the open and loving arms of my wife. A guaranteed formula for failure, but we all got to learn the hard way. At least I do.
Change is hard. At some point in our lives we all settle for a pattern. A way of dealing with life that gets us through. Even if it is self defeating we stick to it because change is hard. We give up. I have been curmudgeonly at times, set in my ways, floating on a sea of despair and surrender.
But this year I discovered that I have the capacity for change. I can do it. I want it. I changed my habits drastically and my outlook changed as well. Or I changed my outlook drastically and my habits changed as well. Who knows. Who cares. What matters is that I know I am a different man. The irony is that nobody else (except Carol) knows it. Because nothing external has changed. I am still grotesquely obese, I work two part time jobs and we eat cat food. No new car, no fancy vacations, no nice clothes, no fattened bank account, no more freedom than we had before.
But I will get there. We will get there. Because I am determined, which is a commitment I have never had. And I am putting in the work. You cannot crawl into a bottle of whiskey whining about change and expect it to happen. You have to make it happen. Christ, I sound like a televangelist.
It was fun sitting in that recliner this morning, listening to my mind and saying "who the hell is this guy?" More than that, it felt good. I bent quite a bit from mid July through mid August. Got sick, fell apart physically and mentally. Wasted the summer away, which normally would depress me beyond reclamation. And here I am on August 21 inspiring myself to keep moving, keep trying, keep doing. I used to give up all the time. It's so much easier. That's why they make bar stools.
But another thing I am noticing is that I am developing a sense of self worth. Another VERY foreign sensation. And infinitely more enjoyable than self loathing, which I have indulged in, in heaping helpings, for a very long time.
Gonna stick with The Booze Emporium, see where it leads. Gonna keep exercising, and I will lose the weight. Do not bet against me. Continue to write and look for ways to turn that into a semi-career or, if I get lucky, a career. And I am going to continue to change and to look for ways to improve myself. Because now that I experienced it I realize I have a taste for it. What I have done this year is open up a window to myself. I have caught glimpses of the real me and I am starting to think there is a real cool guy buried under all the muck. Some guy who can really LIVE, really experience life, really accomplish things. I want pride to shoot out of my eyes like laser beams. Not boastful pride; I'm talking about the pride that successful people exude naturally. I am defining success as those people who are naturally themselves in every situation.
I want that one. I hunger for it. Pride. Don't need compliments from anybody else; just need to look into the mirror and think "You made it, baby - you are you, and the you that you are is magic. Pure magic."
I'm looking forward to many more amusing moments with myself and the self I am evolving into. It's fun, it's entertaining. But I don't think I will miss it all that much when there is just me. Pure, unadulterated, soulful, no pretense, purely confident Joe.
That I think is what life is really all about. Discovering your true essence and sticking to it and nurturing it against all odds. I see it coming. I feel it coming. I imagine that there can be no better feeling in life.
I'm plugging away. I'm on my way home. I'm on my way back to me. I was me once, probably for one day. January 1, 1954. But I sure as hell don't remember it. And since then I have been hell bent on veering drastically off course. I am grateful for whatever it is that inspired me to change directions. I'm rockin' and rollin' baby and it feels so good.