Thursday, October 07, 2010

Pound the pavement till it bleeds

Because of a number of factors in my childhood, I was on edge most of the time at home. I didn't sleep in because my mom wouldn't let me. There was always something to do. When I moved out, I worked mornings, and sleeping wasn't possible. After my hours got changed to evenings, for the first time, I could sleep in without worry of disturbance. After trying it out a bit, I realized I really liked not having to do anything.

I was now able to wake up, and feel joy that I didn't have to get up, and could go back to sleep. I started doing it every weekday (on weekends it felt like a waste of free time), and I enjoyed it. I did this for about 3 years.

Since work started kicking up, I started to feel down. I used to have more fun at work, but with the recession, understaffing, and elimination of overtime, work has just been draining me.

It was a medium-sized push, but I was already close enough to the edge for some reason to start feeling depressed again. Since I had fought it so well before, it took some time for me to recognize the old symptoms. My mind would automatically avoid the thought, because that starts the spiral, so I had to come to the realization somewhat obliquely, but there it was.

At this point, I was relying on metaphorical comfort food to keep my mood up. I found the FFFFFFFUUUUUUUUUUUU sub-Reddit, and it was guaranteed lolz for me. Hanging out at the top of the board on Modern Warfare 2 on Xbox Live for hours was fun, but wore off quickly when I stopped. Enjoying my wife's company was great, but as soon as she left, so did the feeling.

I stopped blogging anything of substance, I hated work, I hated the feeling I got after an 8 hour session of MW2 pwnage, I hated checking the FFFUUUU subreddit and seeing there was nothing new because I checked it 10 minutes ago, I never felt like going to the range, I had no drive to code, and I acted like an unmotivated employee in the company I co-owned.

I knew I was depressed, but was afraid to admit it to myself because the source of my depression had changed, and I wasn't sure how to address it.

Realizing how big the world is and how small you really are is great for when you're getting caught up in the small stuff. But this was different. I was comfortable with where I was, and somewhere in my mind, I knew I was doing something wrong.

Then I saw some drawings on FFFFUUUU based on a comment from Ask Reddit. I tracked the comments back, and read the original post, and the comments referenced.

Original post
One of many responses;
Three words; wake up early. Wake up every day at the crack of dawn. Beat the sunrise like a boss. 5 AM is ideal. Tired? Fuck that. By waking up early every day, you take control of your entire day. The first thing you should do when you wake up is not think "Fuck I'm tired..." but "FUCK YEAH ANOTHER DAY I LIVE!" and plan your day accordingly. Write down goals all the time and circle the ones you have not completed yet in the morning. Conquer every day. Do not let the day control you. Sleep every day early unless your goal needs to be completed that day. You can either enjoy the indulgences of lethargy and then drown in regret or take the pains of goals and live a champion.
~ihaveacalculator

The response to the above that I saw first;
Three words reiterated: Wake thefuckup earlier. Fuck dawn, be awake for that as well. Wide awake. Leave your house while dark, grab a coffee, and attack nature. Climb a mountain, surf a wave, dive a trench, or pound pavement until the concrete bleeds. I don't know where you fucking live. But seize it. See those dark windows as you're running by? They don't know what the fuck they are doing with their lives. You do. And your gonna fucking win it all. Graphic design the shit out of your life too. Dont have art on your walls? Fucking make it! Lost your pet? Put some fucking signs up. Even if you didnt, make some anyways! Practice the shit out of what you love, and it'll love you back like your bitch. Yea your short. So fucking what. Bet you one day living like its yours, and every person in the world will look up to you. Just don't ever fucking stop. Not for anyone, and not for anything, until you can look back on your life and say fuck yeah. I did that. I did it all.
~news_and_coffee

The specifics of the motivation are as unimportant as the typos and grammatical errors. The main points for me were the last line of the first comment, and the motivation of the second.
You can either enjoy the indulgences of lethargy and then drown in regret or take the pains of goals and live a champion.

When I read this I remembered making the conscious decision that I was going to sleep in and be lazy because I had never been able to do so before. I actually decided to be lazy. Three years later, I was close to the edge, and work troubles pushed me over. Now that I could see what I was doing, I could see how I had rationalized it all this time.

I wasn't oversleeping, I was sleeping at least 8 hours, which is what doctors recommend.
I didn't need to work harder at the business, coding was easy enough for me that I just needed to code, and the rest would come.
Shooting is expensive, and I'm already good enough with my .22s. Plus it takes all day to drive out to the desert where I can shoot larger rifles.
Work is annoying, but I power through it, so it's OK.


Even though these rationalizations aren't technically lies, it was obvious they weren't working for me. I needed to change. I didn't used to be like this. I kicked ass and took names to get where I am today. I had that "don't tell me what I can't do" spirit. Where is that guy?

Oh.

He's sleeping.
He's procrastinating.
He's looking for the quick fix.


He's acting like every other person you see out in the world, wandering around aimlessly, looking for a quick shot of pleasure, and waiting for the next big thing to happen to them.

And he's not going to have ANYTHING to show for his actions in 10 years.



Which brings me to the second comment;

Wake up early and pound the pavement till it bleeds.

The comfortable life is a phantom temptation. It creeps up on you, and whispers into your ear;

"Hey, things are going pretty good right now. They're not incredible or anything, but they used to be much worse. Remember those times? All you gotta do now is tread water, and you'll never have to live those times again."

Beat the comfortable life like it owes you money.

The motivated people I read about and listen to are never satisfied. They want more, and when they get it, they want even more than that.

My misanthropy stems from a severe abhorrence of mediocrity. It's like I can see the skates many of the people around me are coasting through life on. Just hoping the bump into something good. Sometimes they run out of steam, and have to push a little. Sometimes they bump into something good. Sometimes other people give them a push toward a goal. But they're just coasting.

Well, I finally looked down, and somewhere along the way the ass-kicking boots I put on years ago turned into skates. The world was passing around me and I wasn't doing anything about it because I was afraid I forgot how to walk.

FUCK.

THAT.

I'm meant for bigger things.

I'm getting up at my equivalent of dawn, getting away from my distractions, and pounding my equivalent of the pavement till it bleeds. I'm going to practice what I love until it loves me back. And I won't stop for anything or anyone until I can look back and say, "Fuck yeah. I did that. I did it all."

Changing your life is hard, and it's a lot harder to kick yourself in the ass when you're lying down in bed, groping for the alarm when your eyes haven't started working yet. I recorded a message to my tired self from my kick-ass self, and I listened to it this morning... Sure, it took a few times before I actually got up, and I'm cold, and hungry, and tired in this Starbucks, and my car has been in the shop for 5 hours longer than I thought it'd be, but I've been getting shit done for 6 hours now, and it's not even 2. Today, I got 5 hours of work done before the time I would have gotten out of bed two days ago.

I was lucky enough to record the big picture things I need to do during the moments of clarity in the fog I was coasting through, so I've got plenty to work on.

I know it's hard, but nothing worth doing is easy.

I've done enough hard things to know that they get easier to do if you keep doing them, and if you keep doing them long enough...

They come as naturally as breathing.

So that's the goal.

Rebuild myself once more.

Become that guy again.


And I'm gonna fucking win it all.

7 comments:

bluesun said...

Hey, thanks for that. I kinda needed it, too. And I just set my alarm for an hour earlier...

ErnestThing said...

GO BIG OR GO HOME!


:)

Mike said...

I dunno. I've been having some of the same stuff (except the sleeping in part). Having trouble shaking myself out of it this time around.

Eowyn said...

Thank you. That was a timely reminder.

"Pound the pavement till it bleeds!" is a war cry I can rally behind.

ErnestThing said...

Mike, if you can't finesse your way out of it through analysis of your mood, then you can always force it. Look on the bright side of life, and make yourself focus on the positive things.

Eowyn, I set this as my phone's wallpaper. It reminds me of the spirit I need to have when I drag myself out of bed, or sit down to watch some teevee.

Mike said...

Hah, not a lot positive going on over here lately, unfortunately. Still employed and the car still runs I guess, but that's about the only bright side I can find.

But thanks anyway. Had a few drinks tonight and that helped... Good feelings are fading slower than the buzz did at least.

DirtCrashr said...

Kickass!! My morning bike ride helps pump my blood and push on the lymph side to expel the grunge, and build the lungpower to make oxygen really do it's marvelous thing.