January is not shaping up to be my best month. (But then, it is still early.)
December wasn’t altogether great, either – although, I did get to spend Christmas with family that I don’t see very often.
Of course, I also got the worst cold I’ve had in years… struggled with severe panic attacks… and relapsed on coffee, cigarettes, and porn… and, perhaps worst of all, all of those struggles got in the way of me pursuing my freelance goals. And going to the gym. And changing my diet. And feeling even the slightest interest in actually getting out of the house, and going places where I might just possibly actually interact with people of the female persuasion. (I don’t often admit it to myself because I still carry a lot of baggage – but I desperately want a healthy, committed relationship…)
So, yeah. A lot of stuff has gone by the wayside for these past few weeks. I’ve experienced some pretty serious overwhelm. I’ve repeatedly attempted to talk myself out of pursuing my goals. I’ve had moments of genuine hopelessness, confusion, and doubt.
(But I also had some moments of joy, and happiness – like Christmas with family – that I wouldn’t trade for anything.)
So, there’s been some good; it just feels like it’s overshadowed by all the rest; like, no matter what good things I might enjoy, the darkness will always be there, beckoning me to withdraw, to retreat, to admit that it really is all too much, and that I’m just not “enough” to overcome all these challenges.
I just can’t quite convince myself to actually give up on it all.
I spent so much time last year struggling to change the direction of my life, I guess I could say it’s become a habit now. Second nature. Almost instinctual.
Which is so incredibly different from where I was at the start of 2018, I guess sometimes I still “forget” how far I’ve come, how much momentum I’ve created, how completely removed I really am from the negative self talk that kept me withdrawn and isolated since the time I left the U.S. Navy, now over fifteen years ago.
For so many years, I only knew one way of looking at the world – through a dark, ugly lens of fear, anxiety, and apprehension. And last year, I broke through that lens, in big ways, and small.
Where I used to genuinely believe that all hope was lost, nowadays I recognize those thoughts and feelings as just that – thoughts, and feelings. Temporary, fleeting things… things that only have control over my actions if I allow them to. (And I know more than one way now, to not allow them to.)
So, things are different now. I know, now, that I don’t have to allow all the negative self talk to define my reality. That I don’t have to “resign myself” to a future (or a present, for that matter) that is devoid of meaning, of satisfaction, of purpose, or direction. That, realistically, I do always have a choice. (Even when it feels like my anxiety is making the choices for me.)
Sometimes, after so many years of approaching life from a place of fear and doubt, it’s easier to give in, to allow those thoughts to take over, to discourage me or even, sometimes, to stop me from pursuing my goals. I could argue that it’s easier for me to give up, because I’ve been doing it for so long…
But that kind of reasoning wouldn’t really help anything, in the long run.
I mean, it’s worth recognizing. And it’s important that I learn to exercise more compassion with myself. To allow that, yes, the changes I’m making are hard, and it will take me multiple attempts. But it’s hazardous to allow my self talk to ever say, “It’s too hard for me. I’ve come as far as I can, and I just can’t make it any farther.”
That kind of self talk needs to go. As quickly as humanly possible.
I’ve come so far, of course I can go farther. My belief in God tells me flat out, that He would not allow me to come this far, only to stop here. To lose all my progress. To come up against new obstacles that are so much greater than what I’ve already faced, that I just cannot overcome them. To give up, and to go back, to the life I was living before.
God would not have guided me to this point, just to leave me hanging. (I might… but God never would. That’s just not how He does things.)
And so… no matter how many struggles are ahead of me… no matter how many mountains I have yet to climb… no matter how many times I feel like it’s all just too much and I’ll never possibly get it right…
I have to put my faith in God. And I have to trust Him, and myself, and the process… and believe that no matter where I am today… that as long as I don’t give up… my ultimate, long term success, is inevitable.
And somehow, learn to let the chips fall where they may.
It’s the only way I can accept where I am today, and still find the nerve to work on creating that better tomorrow, that I so deeply long for.