Voice in my head last night before bed: “Tomorrow is the first day of the rest of my happier life. Hurry and get to sleep, Randy. Tomorrow’s going to be great!”
Voice in my head this morning when I woke up: “Damn it, it’s Sunday and I have to exercise?! This sucks! Who lives like this?!”
Moderation and I have never really been close. He knocks on the door a lot, but I’m typically too buried under excess to answer. Which usually means any new thing I take on, I take on hard and then burn out. Today, I invited Moderation in for morning coffee, and we had a nice chat. I would take things easy today—instead of trying to run 5 miles, I’d go for a walk; instead of an hour of meditation, let’s try 15 minutes. I got going about noon. It’s now 2:30 in the afternoon, and I’ve completed all 5 tasks and it wasn’t that bad.
Random Act of Kindness
Interestingly enough, this was/is one of the hardest, on a couple of different levels. First, it’s uncomfortable for me to think about sharing this one with people since it looks like I’m publicly patting myself on the back for nice things I’ve done. I know people who do enjoy this kind of thing (a lot), and they make me want to stab sharp pencils in my ear so I don’t have to hear it anymore. But this is part of the project, so I do it in that spirit.
Second, trying to think up something kind to do for other people is tough! I actually googled “random acts of kindness.” I did. Weird, I know. Even weirder? There are entire websites dedicated to ideas for this. I decided to go close to home. It’s one of my BFF’s birthdays today and she just got engaged, and they left today for a celebratory Hawaiian vacation, so I found out where they were staying and called 3 different places before I finally found someone who would deliver a bottle of champagne over to their hotel so it would be ready when they got there. I’m a nonprofit worker, so future acts of kindness can’t be as grand, but it felt good to do something for someone who does so much for me. And I could do it from home. Yes, I own my laziness.
I think my 15-minute meditation experience can best be conveyed in a drawing. The goal was to count breaths and start over when I lost count.
I had to go to the market today, so I decided to integrate a life task with a happiness task. I live in San Francisco where any destination you walk to is up a steep hill—both ways. Right outside my door, is one of the steepest hills in the city. I have done massive research on routes around the neighborhood to avoid this hill. Today I stared into the pavement-y eyes of that small mountain and boldly asked, “Who’s your daddy?” The hill flippantly replied, “not you.” That hill kicked my ass.
But I like the metaphor of it (I’m a writer; I can’t help myself.) I just kept thinking about all the metaphorical hills you constantly have to climb to get anywhere. And just like those life hills, this actual hill was hard and unpleasant and sweaty and awful, but the reward at the top was astounding—this amazing view of the entire city. Even better? It was all downhill from there. Until the next hill. Which in the spirit of moderation, I did not climb. I’ll save that one for tomorrow. Overall, though, it was probably about a two-mile walk I went on. Not bad for a Sunday where I’d typically be on the sofa desperately avoiding all things outside.
Journal about something good that happened today
When I got to the market, I picked up a few things for dinner because I have a friend coming over. Part of the shopping list was two bottles of wine – a bottle of white and a bottle of red, since I can’t remember which she likes best. Having wine with people isn’t such a problem for me, it’s having wine alone (every day) and relying on it to get through the evening—that’s when I get into trouble. I’ve made a concerted and successful effort this past month to cut the wine consumption down tremendously, but I still slip up occasionally. This one, though, I wasn’t too worried about.
However, when I walked up to the cashier, one of the employees there who I know through my roommate and who is following this blog, said hello to me and called me out on the wine. He also congratulated me for doing this experiment. I said I felt a little strange about putting all this personal info out in the world, and he replied, “Sometimes that’s the kind of kick in the pants you need.”
This was amazing for two reasons: 1) I lied when I said I feel “a little” strange about putting this personal info out in the world. I feel A LOT strange about it. It’s uncomfortable sharing this stuff, letting people see the cracks and inviting them into the experience. Seeing someone in person, someone I don’t know too well but now knows an awful lot about me, and was completely easy about it, encouraging in a way that normalized it, something everyone needs sometimes, really eased that anxiety (for today). 2) I will not be able to hide. People are watching. He noticed those bottles in my hand, and he was going to make sure I knew that he knew. I love this guy, and I thank him for that!
3 things I’m grateful for:
1) My friend, adopted family member, and roommate – Matty. He’s encouraged and helped me through this entire process and in everything I do. In my depression and anxiety, I am sometimes (often times) short with him or easily frustrated. He’s away this weekend, and in the silence of the house, I realize how important he is to me, how much he puts up with from me, and how steadfast his loyalty and encouragement is.
2) A hot shower whenever I want or need one.
3) The kindness (and watchful eyes) of strangers.