Deciding to change

by david

I’m about to start a series of “important” posts. I’m essentially going to be laying out my plan for the entire year 2013. By doing it publicly, I’m committing myself to accomplishing a few things that I would otherwise—in a previous year, for example—let fall to procrastination.

To do these things, I’ve had to reconcile myself to three things:

1) I’m an adult. Finally, at age 34, I don’t get to claim newbie status in adulthood anymore. I can’t plead ignorance or distraction. Last week, I had a moment at work where I became self-aware in an unusual way, and my thought was, “I’m doing this with a remarkable degree of competence.” It was eerie. I’ve always thought of myself as a kid among adults. Choosing to not see myself that way is important for what comes next.

2) I have to physically take care of myself better. I have to make myself sleep more. I have to eat better. I have to drink less alcohol. I have to work out first, not last. I’ve begun, as much as possible, simply not eating between meals. This goes against every bodily instinct I have: I have a lifelong habit of eating 18-20 hours per day. When the urge is overwhelming, I’m eating fruit and drinking black coffee.

3) This is the most important one: I have to spend my free time working. Not “working” in the sense of adding hours to my professional workday, although I do that as much as anybody. What I mean is that the goals I’m setting for myself in the next few posts each require work, not wishing, and each of those projects that I want to complete is important enough to me that I have to make sacrifices for them. Some, like not playing video games much, if at all, are not an enormous hardship. On the other hand, choosing to spend less time reading is a very strange bit of sacrifice, giving up something that is an unambiguous positive. But in the spirit of “you can’t have it all,” I need to read less so that I can write a little bit more.

Throughout my 20s, I raised a toast on birthdays to my 30s, when I would start getting things done. The 20s were for squandering. I’m nearing the decade’s halfway point. If I’m going to cross into my 40s with dignity, I need to make good on that toast.

It’s hard to change. It had better be worth it.