Reinvention of self

2018 was one of those years that I will always look back on as a year that something major happened. We all have years like this dotted across our lives; the year we got married, the year we had a child, the year a loved one passed away. 2018 had none of the common hallmarks of a milestone year. What 2018 had were a series of events that contributed to a period of ‘self discovery’ where I spent a large amount of time in deep contemplation of what my life was. What followed was a period of intense realisation, stress (and stress relief), re-evaluation and resetting. It’s still ongoing.

As my friend Chris put it, I had a mid-life crisis.

Except I don’t think I did. Not in the sense you’d be fooled into considering via societies stereotypical ‘mid-life’ considerations. There was no sports car, no affair, no major change in fashion sense. I actually did the opposite. Rather than thinking about all my life’s regrets (I could make another post on that. In short, I don’t really have any) and acting impulsively on them, I carefully considered each aspect of my life, and looked to see if it was something I actually wanted to be spending my time on. If I didn’t, I would try to eliminate it thus freeing up time to chase more fulfilling pursuits.

I’ve become intensely aware of time in the last year. How quickly it goes. How we’ve no idea how long we each have left. How important it is to spend it wisely – yet so many people (myself included) fail to do this. Do I want to waste my time doing stuff I don’t want to do to please people that don’t need pleasing?

No, of course I don’t!.

This was my foundation.

From this, I began to reveal how I’d been living my life wrong for so long. From the outside in, I doubt many would have seen it this way but looking back, it appears very stark to me.

In an attempt to limit my waffle, these are the things I’m now doing a lot less of:

– Watching as much TV
– Playing Video Games
– Going to gigs (I tried for so long to enjoy doing this, but just don’t for whatever reason!)
– Going to bed late
– Getting drunk (bar the odd occasion) and going out until late
– Eating as much sugar and bad food (and contemplating what’s on my plate a bit more, so no Palm Oil for example)
– Spending money on things I don’t really need
– Worrying about other people’s opinions of me
– Working within an Office environment
– Working to a societal norm
– Paying attention to the news

None of these things have served me all that well over the years. Of course I can pinpoint certain games I played, things I’ve watched or nights out I’ve had that have been fun or have had a positive impact on my life, but I don’t see how they are going to serve me in the here and now. There are also elements that I still struggle with in my deeply ingrained habits that may take a while to completely wipe out. When I feel down, my self esteem drops and there probably is an increased likelihood of worrying about what people think of me. This in turn can lead to overcompensation in the form of retail therapy for example. I’m getting better, but there is still some way to go.

The present and future life that I have consciously decided I want to live revolves around these pillars:

Family
Marriage
Friends
Work
Experience

Everything I do should be geared towards a positive deposit into one of these five accounts. Anything otherwise should be discarded as it is not a good use of time. If one of the accounts becomes depleted (or worse, overdrawn), then action needs to be taken to rectify this – meaning I stop depositing into one (or more) of the others until I’m happier with the balance.

Now I’m not expecting this to happen overnight, it might not even happen in a few months. What matters is that I proactively seek out positive actions that contribute towards the above. I’m imagine it’s going to be difficult (I’ve already mentioned old habits easily slipped into), but one of the key things I need to keep in mind is not to put a lot of pressure on myself. I’ve done this before, and it doesn’t go well.

I need to remember that it’s a long journey and there will be times I feel I’m going backwards, but just doing one thing every day to get that 1% better will add up to huge personal growth over the next few years.

So, who else is doing, or has done something similar? What processes did you go through and what did you learn? I think it’d be great to share experiences and learn together.

Rick.