I Have To Make The Changes

I have to stop writing about the things I plan on doing and start writing about the things I have done.  It’s all too easy to make list after list of all the things I hope to accomplish by some arbitrary date and then let them fall one by one by the wayside.  It’s too easy to be encouraged and animated one day only to be broken down and defeated the next.  It’s too easy to say, “I’ll get to it tomorrow.”  I became determined to be happy in my life, not with my life, and I will not allow anything to knock me back to the place I was before my personal resurrection.  Yesterday was my birthday, and while nothing is different in who I am today versus yesterday, I had a lot of time to think about my life, my goals, and ultimately, my happiness.  As silly and cliche as it may sound, I am responsible for all of those things.  I have spent too many days of my life allowing others to dictate how I feel, how I behave, and how I am perceived as a person.  Yes, I am quiet, but no, I am not grumpy, not any longer at least.  Yes, there were times I was sad and depressed, but I am pushing myself past that.  I was angry at the world, but that’s really my way of saying I was angry at certain people; people who I allowed to bring me down.  I will never eliminate all the negative people from my life, but I can choose to surround myself with people who encourage me and support me, not who challenge me and ridicule me.  I used to allow myself to be the butt of my “friends” jokes for the sake of maintaining those friendships, but I realized recently that it is better to keep the most valuable friends, let the others go, and risk making new friends.  I have always had a small group of friends, but even among those are the few who are overly negative, overly sarcastic, and overly hurtful to my feelings.  I am 33 years old, and yes, I am saying it sucks when someone picks on you.  What’s important is, that as a 33 year old, I can choose not to be around those people anymore.  Of course, as they don’t necessarily see the negative feelings they are pushing onto me it will be hard for me to separate myself from them, but it is time to let them go.  It is time to move on from the person I was in order to be the person I want to be.

I’m not planning on radically altering who I am.  That’s a ridiculous notion that people have.  You don’t simply wake up one morning and decide you’re going to be the exact opposite of who you have been all your life, however, step by step, you can make the necessary changes and start living the life you want to live.  I want to be more outgoing.  That’s not to say I want to dress as a clown and start juggling, that’s absurd.  I will always be shy, but I don’t have to allow that to hinder my social life.  In fact, I have a lot of fears in my life.  Fear has been a huge topic for me these past few months.  It was almost by accident that I decided it was time to change, but ultimately the decision came when I decided it was time to confront my fears.  I had long been telling myself my fears were irrational and because of that, I ignored them.  That did not make them go away.  The change came when I realized my fears were in fact very rational and the way to overcome those fears was not to run away from them, but to fucking confront them head on.  I was afraid of going on a plane for fear it would fall from the sky and kill me.  Well, I want to go to Spain and there’s no other way to get there, so I either risk it or I don’t.  Yes, I will be nervous and anxious, but millions of other people get on planes and see the world.  I want to see the world and I will not allow this anxiety to stop me.  As I said, I am shy, and that may never go away, but once I find myself in Spain for a month, I have two choices.  I can cower in a corner for the duration of my trip and regret a wasted opportunity or I can open myself up, take a risk, and talk to complete strangers.  No, I’m not going to find myself singing karaoke in a bar in Madrid, but maybe I’ll have the guts to say “Hi” to a woman in a restaurant somewhere.  I don’t particularly like being alone, so being on my own for a month will be a huge challenge in itself, but hopefully it will teach me what it takes to survive, not just exist.

It’s strange to think that today I actually feel younger than I have in a long time.  I felt great yesterday simply because I received so many Happy birthday wishes.  I’ve been telling myself that this trip to Spain will be a defining moment in my life and when I return, things are going to be different, but today I feel like, why should I wait until next year?  I can make small changes now.  I can prepare myself for this trip for the entire next year.  I don’t have to wait until I am in a foreign country to meet new people and make new friends.  I can reach out and reconnect with those friends who truly support and encourage me, and I can distance myself from those who don’t.  I don’t have to wait until next year to be happy, I can be happy right now.  I grumble and get down on myself when I can’t understand every word the newscaster from Spain says, but I can’t let that discourage me.  I speak Spanish just fine, and I will continue to work hard on improving over the next few months and instead of worrying that I will get there and be totally lost, I will tell myself that by next May I’ll have complete confidence in my abilities.

There’s still a few things I need to work on, a few things I want to say to people that may take some guts, but slowly but surely I am getting there.  I often quote a favorite John Mayer song, “I’m in repair, I’m not together, but I’m getting there.”  I am getting there.



~ by James on April 25, 2014.

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