Within the past few months I’ve embarked on several new endeavors. There’s so much newness in my life that I don’t feel like the same me I used to be. I mean that in a good way, a progressive way, not like I feel as though I have lost myself (been there done that, God brought me back and I am not interested in fading away ever again.) I feel as though I am evolving into a better version of the myself. If I were a snake I’d be in the molting phase and this old, dead skin I’m in is shedding fast.
The new habits I’ve been crafting involve a packed schedule, pre-portioned meals and a necessary day of rest. All of which are critical for me to handle my academics, my new job and my fitness lifestyle. Right now I’m probably juggling more commitments than ever before but I don’t feel under pressure or stressed, probably because I refuse to give up my peace (John 14:27) and I find it imperative to live in the moment. I have a lot going on and it’s good that I’m evolving because the old me couldn’t handle this. I am mostly occupied as is but I think I could tackle more. I’m sure more will be added to my crazy life down the road. Until then, I will do the best I can with what’s right in front of me. It’s not the writing job I just got or the math class that unceasingly challenges me that’s the worst of it nor is it the grueling intensity of CrossFit that is my biggest difficulty. I would say my most recent, best success is making my bed and the worst, the hardest, most detestable obstacle I am up against is drinking black coffee. Black on black like Johnny Cash. That is not a metaphor of any kind nor is it a shameless plug for my all-time favorite singer, I do literally mean the hardest thing for me to do currently, amid every brand new undertaking, is drink my coffee black.
The old me was out of balance. A truly successful life requires a healthy mind, soul and body, a trinity if you will of optimal existence. A three-part scale that requires constant recalibration. Each part needs substantial nourishment and it’s quite easy to spot lack in any of the three major areas that make up who a person is. Speaking as someone who just crawled out of a pit that was solely made up of writing my memoir, it’s abundantly clear that we as people should not ever do just one thing. Life is a balancing act. Don’t get too focused on one aspect, care for your whole self. Success in all, starts with the small.
As someone who chronically waited for the grandest parts of life, I hardly gave the little parts much thought. I primarily write fiction because I find reality to be mundane. I often mentally escape in drama shows because average happenings are usually uninteresting to me. The error in focusing on only the fun parts of life is that important stages are missed. People need to master the day to day in order to properly appreciate the larger than life moments. Making my bed was not a priority of mine because well, it was my bed, if I didn’t want to make it why should I? After hearing the Admiral talk about how straightening sheets and a comforter can prepare a person for anything from Hell Week to running the country, I now make my bed every morning.
Success-contrary to what this recovering millennial had hoped for-does not happen over night. Goals and accomplishments take time. Lots of time. That’s not bad, it’s just reality. I have written reminders posted around my apartment telling me to not become someone that I do not want to be. Avoiding failure began with making the bed. First, I would only fix the sheet and the comforter, I figured that was enough for a week or so. Then, I would fix the sheet and the comforter and straighten the pillows. Just the ones I slept on, why bother with the decorative ones? I’m not even sure why I have so many. I made my bed with everything but the extras for another week and half. After that I thought, if I’m making this my first task of the day right after I wake up, I might as well make do it in excellence. For the past week I have made my bed to look as if I live in a hotel suite. There’s all kinds of pillows perfectly arranged. Most of it is decorative and not functional whatsoever but it’s so nice to look at. One day, I felt a little off all morning. I was questioning my training at the gym too much and I just couldn’t shake my own self-criticism. I came home and realized my bed was not made. I forgot to make it that morning. I was happy in that moment because whether or not I did great earlier, this was something I could do well. So once again, I made my bed. One accomplishment leads to another. Making my bed was the start of me flipping my whole life around. Now I sleep well, get up early, eat clean and go to work. I workout and I go to school. This is not typical behavior for me-the running late, nocturnal, brooding, procrastinating writer that I was for the majority of my life. This is new and this is good. I pray that it sticks. God has been teaching me much in the small of it all.
Drinking black coffee is because of my revised eating habits, I am gradually moving toward Paleo. What I need is the caffeine, my body can do without the refined sugar and fat. My taste buds though, still cringe at the bitterness. I don’t mind strong coffee, I drink espresso but espresso is two sips at most, not 10oz. I find it humorous that I have turned myself into a morning person who pushes around a 75lb iron sled for a cardio warm up and yet black coffee is still to tough for me. It’s like that time I was afraid to kill a centipede and someone shouted out the ridiculousness of my trepidation by saying; “you’re a weightlifter!” Oh right, that is correct. I can handle much more than I think. Hand me the coffee mug please.