When the years tamed me

I used to think that a strategy for success was throwing every ounce of my being at something. And so I’d live off caffeine and sugar and spend every waking moment working at something. And what I focused on would slowly become successful, but I as a person would not be successful.

Begrudgingly, I’ve come to accept I’m the parent to a body that I never asked for and don’t particularly want. And this body wants rest and movement and routine and nutrition and sleep and being with people, and it throws tantrums if I disobey its needs.

Life is easy the hard way and hard the easy way, or so they say.

And so I reluctantly accept the responsibility of being a parent to myself. So I show up at the gym and do the exercises promised to make my back stop hurting. And I try to resist checking for notifications and incoming messages and let my dopamine-addicted monkey mind sustain periods of concentration long enough to get something done. I try, again and again, to get up the will to prevent desiring sugar by not eating sugar, simple and stupid as any addict trying to trade desire for peace. I put time and energy and care into being in a relationship because I realize that my fantasy of being perfectly fine alone is… a fantasy. And I make myself sit still and watch my breath, inhale and exhale, inhale exhale, inhale exhale, inhale exhale, inhale—oh look at this amazing thought, wow let’s think about that—wait no! Inhale exhale, inhale exhale, inhale exhale… and I detach a bit and I stop being this annoying, wanting self, at least for that moment.

And I start thinking that getting old might not be that bad if this is what it is, releasing the fantasy of what life could be if only, and finding contentment in the ordinary struggle of what is.