I believe it started with my priorities. Before, my priorities were to get through the work day as quickly and effortlessly as possible. Then, I had all that free time after work to go ahead and get messed up on alcohol and weed while playing video games until I couldn’t keep my eyes open and I would pass out. That was fun, or so I thought.
Now I find myself with all these new (desired) priorities and habits. I find myself playing video games less and less, and on the times that I do – my attention wanes quickly. I still get excited for new and upcoming games, not as much so, but it’s almost as if I enjoy reading about and watching games more than actually playing them.
I also find myself not running away at that mere hint of the word “responsibility”. It was weird going through the interviews that I had when I first arrived to Seattle. I made it a point of emphasis that I wanted “responsibility” and that I was seeking the opportunity for advancement. Where this came from? I have no idea. But it wasn’t just interview speak, it was something that I felt.
I’ve long suffered depression and anxiety and lowered self worth, and I think one of the reasons could be because I never had faith in myself to BE responsible and to get my priorities straight. And now I find that the more I come around and steer towards these goals, the more my self worth is creeping towards ideal levels.
I find myself wanting to structure my life. I have several goals for myself this week, including building a personal budget and setting up a weekly planner to help keep track of what I want to accomplish for the week. I’m not content to sit around and piss away hours on the internet anymore. I’ve found that if I’m going to read, I’m wanting it to be a book, and not some “Top 10 lists of hilarity found on the internet between the hours of 2-4 pm on this day” or whatever. Those lists are usually too specific, and the hilarity is way overstated. And what do I get out of them? I usually forget every single thing that I read the moment I hit that little Red x.
So I find myself wanting to read, and exercise, and meditate, and accomplish things. I find myself cleaning more, and not just to put on airs for my girlfriend and her family (whom I’m staying with). But for myself. I find myself wanting to cut back on habits I know are bad for me. I find myself, becoming more and more….responsible.
Like, for instance – I recently spent time in NYC with my brother and his beautiful (now!) fiance. And I’ll admit, I was a bit jealous. While their schedules were pretty hectic and the stress resultant wasn’t necessarily the thing that I wanted, I found myself appreciating that they were pursuing their interests. They had a wonderful apartment in a fantastic neighborhood and great friends and all these places they were regulars of that they loved and…. And I want that kind of lifestyle.
I want to quit blowing off work and working for the weekend, when all I do on the weekend is fuck off. I find myself wanting to spend time writing more, something that scares the shit out of me (which makes me know I need to do it more). I want to read more.
I don’t even fall into the old habits as quickly as I used to. During said visit to NYC, I was at the party where all the friends showed up to celebrate the engagement. Normally, in a situation such as this where I know practically no one, I would turn to alcohol early and often and hide in the corner, until I felt sociable. This would usually be after one too many drinks, and I would stumble and slur and make a fool of myself, causing me to keep drinking to chase the shame away. Not ideal.
This time, however, I sipped on a few beers and even went empty handed at moments (something I wouldn’t dare to do in the past) and made sure to go up to people and make small talk. Some of the conversations weren’t earth shattering, of course, but practice makes perfect and that’s something that I can be proud of. My brother even commented on the fact that I seemed so “laid back” when it came to that evening. He’s seen me when I’ve had too many, and we both know it ain’t pretty. I seemed to have ditched the crutch and started relying on my own muscles to get me moving.
And that seems to be the case for a lot of things in my life. I’m wanting to kick away my safety nets and try living, truly living, for the first time in, I don’t know, ever? I find myself wanting to quit caffeine because I know it exacerbates anxiety. I find myself wanting to get myself out there and throw myself into uncomfortable situations, simply because I know that it’s impossible to know how I’ll handle them until I actually do it!
All these changes, and they haven’t necessarily been at the forefront of my mind. They’ve just gradually happened. I’m staying with my girlfriend’s family, and they have a son (Also named Joe, go figure) who reminds me so much of me from a couple of years ago. Always wanting to get high, to go drinking, to fuck around with his friends, to skirt his responsibilities, getting into arguments with his parents, coming up short at his job and currently jobless….
Reminds me so much of me. And I can’t help but shake my head and be thankful that not only am I NOT that kind of person anymore, I don’t want to be that kind of person anymore. And I think, is that what it feels like to become an adult? It doesn’t happen with a bang, like a balloon popping. It happens slowly, over time, like a bucket left out in the rain, slowly gathering what life has to offer. I think I’m finally going to use that bucket to water some of these new seeds that I’ve gathered in my last couple of years. Feels good.