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2/25/18

Why don't I do the things I'd like to do?


Confession: if I stayed on my positive New Year's wave, I would be publishing my seventh post on this little blog of mine this week. As you can see, I only now reached number two. What happened? I've been asking myself that question a lot lately. You see, I am currently in a state of 'in between jobs' (on positive days, 'unemployed and hopeless' on others). I work in the cultural sector and around October last year, I knew the chances of my starting somewhere new after finishing up my last research project were very slim. I saw this coming! I knew I'd be in a tough spot having to find new employment or freelance gigs, but by the end of the year I had also turned my thoughts into a more positive direction: I would finally have time. Time to do the things I love, the things I have always wanted to do, new things I haven't done before - there finally would be time! I was going to pick up drawing again, an hour every week, finally learn to play the ukelele that's been catching dust on my bedroom wall, learn how to speak French, build up a running and meditation routine, write every day in various forms, and the list goes on.

Fast forward to today, and how far did I get? About seven weeks into the New Year and having spent my time primarily on... nothing? One could say I have all the time in the world right now, and what did I do with it? I watched five seasons of Game of Thrones and two of Modern Family. I aimlessly browsed through the internet, a lot. I spent way too much time on my phone, and instead of being active and following a healthy diet, I spent the majority of my time in bed, doing the above, while eating chocolate. And as it mostly leaves me feeling unhealthy, inadequate and unhappy with myself - I really don't like it. I've been trying to wrap my brain around this for a while. How come I don't do the things I'd like to do and would make me feel good about myself while and after doing them, but spend so much time doing those that make me feel just.. blegh?

Talking to friends about this, I discovered that I am certainly not the only one. Over wine and too much food, we discussed the struggles in our daily lives to put in the effort for the things we like and love (vowing that tomorrow we'd finally go for that run and stop eating so much, but did we?). The internet showed me even more that I am not alone in this. But I did have trouble identifying the why in myself. Why do I choose lounging in bed, staring at desirable lives on Instagram instead of creating my own desirable life? I came across an article quoting the following: "The only way you know you love yourself - or anyone else - is by the commitments you are willing to make and keep." And even thought I am not a hundred percent on board with that statement, it did stick. I admit, I have some longstanding self-love... difficulties. All this time I thought that would change if I start doing the things I love and creating the life I want. But is it the other way around, perhaps? Am I not doing the things I love, because I don't love myself?

This carries some truth for me. I now realize that it's not about 'just do it', as I had so enthousiastically claimed in my previous post. My fears and perfectionism have been keeping me from doing things in the ideal situation of having the time, such as writing blogposts (they won't be as good as others', no-one will read them, you're making a fool out of yourself), setting up a running routine (you're bad at running, you'll never make it), learning French (you didn't learn it during the 5 years you took classes, you'll definitely wont now on your on) or drawing more (there are so many better, what is even the point). I know I battle with a hoge dose of self-criticism, fear and perfectionism, and that it is not so easily conquered by just doing things. I do still believe that is a big part of it, but it goes deeper. It needs some soul-searching, changing of attitudes and self-acceptance. And honestly, that might be one of the biggest things scaring me (it just never ends, does it?). Switching on Netflix to just forget it all is often the easiest way to go then, but also not the one I want to go anymore. I'm not sure how to get there yet, but lets see where it takes me from here.

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