When people complain about their lives, they have three things they can do: 1) Make the change that they want; 2) Come to terms with and accept what they have (and seek the beauty/joy in it); or 3) Do nothing to change anything, but keep complaining about it.
Throughout my career, I’ve seen many people caught in a trap of hating where they are, wanting/needing something better, yet when they are given suggestions, they just put barriers in their own way. You hate your job. Great, start looking for something better. Oh, you can’t because you lack qualifications? Get qualified. Oh, you can’t because you don’t have time? Stop watching so much television and study instead. Oh, you can’t because you have some sort of emotional connection to your favorite shows? Then I can’t help you, you’re the one putting up the barriers.
I once talked with a woman who hated every single aspect of her life, from her job to her boyfriend, to the apartment she rented. She even hated her dog. But she couldn’t give away the dog, and she couldn’t just dump the boyfriend, and she couldn’t move when her lease was up, and she didn’t want to find another job, and and and excuses excuses excuses. What do you say to someone like that? Nothing, you can’t help them.
When there is something I don’t like about my life, I do what I can to fix it. Will and I once lived in a city that we hated. We were unhappy there, but that’s where his job was. So I applied to law school out of state, he started looking for a different job, and, within a year, we were able to move. Yes, it took time. Magic isn’t real, time travel, sadly, isn’t real. It took work. If we had looked at all we had to do to move (like law school! Seriously, what was I thinking?) maybe we wouldn’t have done it and we’d still be living miserably in a place we hated (actually, no, we’d have moved to California two years ago like all of Will’s co-workers when their jobs moved there – but that would have been us waiting to be rescued rather than finding our own way out).
Will was once in tremendously bad credit card debt. I won’t write the number here, but imagine a huge amount of dollars and then triple it. That was his debt. So what did he do? Did he give up and decide to be in debt forever? No, he turned his finances over to me and within two and a half years of living extraordinarily frugally and throwing every cent at it, we eliminated that debt. It was hard. It was extremely hard. But we did it.
Why am I writing about this now? Because I need to – I need the reminder. I’ve been complaining for far too long that I am out of shape. I’m not overweight, so you wouldn’t guess how out of shape I am, but I am weak. I haven’t worked out in a ridiculously, embarrassingly long time. I get winded chasing the kids. In the winter and spring I was riding the bike a lot, but it’s summer and it’s a billion degrees outside (barrier I’m putting in my way?) and I’m pretty sure the kids and I would die of heatstroke if we attempted to ride anywhere right now. That was my exercise, and I haven’t been able to do it since the first hundred degree day back in May.
I like to say I just don’t have time, but I go on facebook and ravelry and wordpress, and I browse articles I don’t care about and read about people I don’t even like. I sit around in the evenings after the kids go to bed, and I tell myself I’m too tired to do anything else. I have time, I just choose not to use it properly.
I tell myself that doing yoga and pilates at home won’t actually do anything for me and I won’t be able to keep it up anyway. I know that’s not true. Just because I’ve quit in the past doesn’t mean I’ll quit again. I know that I don’t get a rush from exercising. I know that working out doesn’t help me feel better on the day I do it. But I also know that the next day I notice a difference. The day after I work out is a good day. The day after I don’t work out . . .well, it’s average to poor. If I feel lazy and unmotivated, a large part of that is a result of my not having physically exerted myself the day before.
I know this about me. I know that I need to work out. I owe it to my future self.
I started yesterday. I feel good today. I have to stop putting barriers in my way and continue. I can do it.
I really can.