We have all been there, that’s right, even you! The days of having infinite energy as a child seem to be a long distant memory of the past and if you’re like me, longer than you care to admit. Does it really have to remain this way though?
After countless years of sitting on my couch while watching TV and swiping through my phone for the better part of a decade, I had convinced myself I was “resting,” but what I was really doing was teaching my mind and body a routine. A routine to fail. One in which that if I kept up the same pace I was going at, I would have grown roots in the near future and most likely become “one with the couch” and we are not talking spiritually.
I too had the same feeling that I was just “too tired” from working all day and commuting three hours to work. I had convinced myself that I didn’t have time for anything, but “rest” and “relaxation.” After the long commute from work and my boss driving me past my breaking point 9-10 hours a day five days a week… By the way, what happened to the 9-5 hours that Henry Ford once implemented? Seems like the days are getting longer and longer now…sorry I am getting off topic, that’s a subject for another day. Seriously though, how could I muster the strength to do anything but just collapse on the couch with a beer in one hand, and my phone in the other?
Ever get the feeling of “I will do it tomorrow?” That was my mantra. Those four words were the sweetest four words to be conjured in my mind. Like a bird signing a sweet, sweet melody. It was my comfort zone. My way to escape reality. I had a distinct love hate relationship with those words. I loved the way they made me feel all warm and fuzzy emotionally and I didn’t know it at the time, but I also hated the way they made me feel physically. If you subscribe to any health literature, or videos, you will see that everyone preaches at least 30 minutes a day of “activity,” whether it be walking, running, biking, or going to the gym. Well, if you’re anything like me, I gladly checked that box by walking 30 minutes to and from the train to work daily. Let me clarify. By exercise, I mean stopping at the food truck for a breakfast bagel and coffee (with milk because it was “healthier” than cream), zombie walking a few blocks half asleep. There was no motivation at all. I was literally stumbling my way to the front door of work while nursing my coffee like it was the magical fountain of youth elixir. The funny part is, at the time, I remember thinking wow, I do a lot of walking every day and felt semi-proud of myself!
My life was “running,” but it was on a lazy cruise control to say the least. For food, I ate the same “fast” meals daily. A breakfast sandwich in the morning, sub with chips (baked chips, because I convinced myself they were “good” for me) for lunch and dinner was usually something from the freezer that could be microwaved in under 5 minutes so I didn’t miss a minute of my (available at any time) Netflix show from the couch. I was so convinced that I needed this time to unwind and take a load off that I would even get mad at my girlfriend if she interrupted my “relaxing time.” I even remember saying once that if I don’t have time to recharge the engines I will be miserable tomorrow and she wouldn’t want to deal with that.
Well Guess what, I was already miserable today. I just didn’t notice it, but my girlfriend who had to deal with me, she didn’t miss a beat of it. I honestly don’t know how she put up with it day in and day out. I remember one day I was watching the network show America’s Got Talent with her one night and a television commercial for #Truth about Cigarettes came on and I remember thinking to myself, how could anyone be so dumb that they would want to kill themselves by inhaling that crap? I followed that genius thought up with, how could someone get addicted to doing something everyday that would be killing themselves? Mind you, I was reaching into a big bag of potato chips at the time and scoffing down 15+ bagel bites mid-thought and here I was the one judging them!
Unlike the movies, it wasn’t a catastrophic event in my life, or my girl friend threatening to leave me, or even a death threat from my primary care doctor that finally woke me up to what was happening. It was the realization that I was unhappy. Not with my life, not with my girlfriend, not even with my boss. I was unhappy with me. The choices I was making, the “I will do it tomorrow” credo to life I loved living. I was convincing myself that I was happy. I wasn’t vastly overweight, I wasn’t in terrible health, I wasn’t broke, I didn’t love my job but it was a good job and I had an amazing girlfriend (at that point she was probably thinking about leaving me — if you’re reading this, thank you for not doing that!)… I was convinced I was happy for all the wrong reasons. See, I was taught at a very young age that happiness means you’re at a point in which you can’t see yourself doing anything else.
A point in which you couldn’t see yourself doing anything else… It wasn’t the most romantic way of putting happiness, but it made sense. Enough sense that I realized I could be doing something else, I could be doing anything other than what I was currently doing. At the time, I was unhappy, but I had done such a good job of convincing myself that I was happy that I didn’t do anything about it. The sad part is, if you asked me if I was happy back then, I probably would have said…hmm maybe I am not happy, but there is always tomorrow. NO LIE!
It was like a sudden self-awareness slap to the face. It was at that moment thinking about what happiness really is, and me wondering am I really happy, that I decided the “I will do it tomorrow,” became today. That was the moment I realized today is the day I start doing the actions that would become my happiness, the actions where I couldn’t see myself doing anything else.