Been thinking this week about what it is I want out of life, and what I want to do when I grow up. And finally, out of exasperation and a growing acceptance of "this is who I am," I have decided to make a list of dreams, aspirations and plainly unrealistic ideas that I'm giving up in order to be more content with my life.
1. I am giving up trying to "improve myself." I am who I am. Trying to fight who I am just leads to disappointment, depression, and long episodes of beating myself up. After decades of fighting the same battles of self-improvement over and over and over again, only to fail every time, it's time to say "enough" and accept what I am now as the best I will ever be, and just coast through life. I need to save my energy for more pleasurable pursuits.
2. I give up the silly notion that I need to take care of my body. I am totally disinterested in exercise, don't care to eat right, and smoke. That's not going to change, and I accept it. I will die, but we all die, and I have already lived longer than most human beings have ever lived. Instead of obsessively focusing on "living longer," I am going to focus on living more pleasurably. I am a hedonist, no question about it.
3. I give up the unrealistic notion that I will ever have a boyfriend for more than 4 days, and that I will ever have anything more than anonymous sex partners, or perhaps the occasional fuck buddy. After 37 years of being unable to maintain romantic relationships, it's time to accept that I am, have always been, and always will be, alone. Knowing myself, the notion of me ever being partnered, let alone married, is almost laughable, no matter how desperately I may try to convince myself otherwise.
4. I'm giving up long-distance relationships as unrealistic. I am able to successfully have long-distance friendships, even long-distance friendships that are sexual on rare occasions, but to call those men "boyfriends" is dishonest, because if they were local to me, they wouldn't be boyfriends. Long distance relationships are just a way to pretend to have real relationships.
5. I give up pretending that I want to be a non-smoker. I am a smoker, a nicotine junkie, and I am just going to have to accept that, be comfortable with that, and move on. I simply enjoy smoking to much to stop. My primary motivations for quitting are to save money and attract a mate, and since I know from experience that I would rather buy cigarettes than buy groceries, I can get food from the free sources like the food banks, saving my money for my nicotine fix. And as for the mate thing, since I am giving up any notion of attracting a mate, that motivation is gone. And I know I have no motivation to quit to protect my health.
6. I am giving up any notion of ever getting into shape. The only times I have ever been able to lose weight & get into better shape I either had to use substances to do it - caffeine & ephedrine pills - or not work and walk for 8 hours a day. Neither are particularly realistic. The truth is, I really don't care about my health, and the only reason this is an issue is that it hampers my ability to attract a mate. Since I am giving up that fantasy, there's really no other reason I can think of to exercise.
7. I am giving up any pretense of "eating right." Who cares that much of what I eat is poison and makes me fat? I love eating what I eat too much to change it.
8. I am giving up the notion that I will ever not be struggling with depression. Depression is a life-long affliction with me, my first hospitalization for it having been when I was 16 years old. Sometimes the medicines I take help, but just as often they do not. The depression interferes with my ability to hold a job, maintain a relationship, and causes so many other problems in my life that accepting this means accepting so many of these other items in this list. I will stop pretending that this can be licked, and just deal with it, as I always have.
9. I am giving up the idea of ever being more than a Slacker. I am a Slacker, a Gen-X'er to the core: Cynical, unmotivated, unwilling to work hard for much of anything. I am lazy, and am not pretending that I am anything but what I am: A person who wants to get the most pleasure out of life while doing the least amount of work possible.
10. I am giving up any notion of ever not being poor. My values are such that I want to live comfortably, but not extravagantly, while working as little as possible. Ja will provide, and my own personal standards allow me to be a comfortable bum.
11. I am giving up any notion of getting a college degree. After 9 years of university education with no degree, it's clear I don't have what it takes to make it through school. It doesn't matter how smart I am or how smart I think I am - I am not self-disciplined enough or motivated enough to make it through school.
12. I am giving up the walk across Canada. I did it to escape from the United States, to maybe find a way to move to Canada, or perhaps find a husband. None of that is going to happen, so there's really no need to continue the walk. And I don't have the money to do it anyway.
13. I am giving up any dreams of emigrating to Canada. I don't have anything that Canada wants, am not willing to work on a university degree or career hard enough to make myself marketable in Canada, nor am I capable of attracting a Canadian husband, so the chances of me ever emigrating are realistically slim and none. I also know that my constant bouts of depression, inability to stay off the public dole, and high possibility of becoming HIV infected all make the prospects of me escaping to the Great White North all the more bleak.
14. I am giving up the notion of becoming an electrician. I've already failed trying to get into the electrician's apprenticeship school, and since my motivation for pursuing a skilled trade was in order to have a career marketable in Canada, a dream which I have already stated I am giving up, there's really no point. I'm not willing to work hard for it, so I can't have it. Toss that idea in the dustbin.
15. I am giving up any notion of trying to find a way out of the United States, period. It is time for me to make a stand. Here I am, here I was born, and here I will die, and that's that. I may die here tomorrow, I may die here 40 years from now, but I can't realistically run away from the place. America, you fucking puritanical pseudo-imperial fascistic pathetic excuse for a country, you're stuck with me, whether you like it or not.
16. I am giving up the notion that I have any power to change the world. The United States, in particular, is set up in such a way as to keep idealists like myself from improving it, or making life better. And since I am not interested or cabpable of being able to make this a better country, I just have to accept it for what it is, and live with it. If that means I have become "part of the problem instead of the solution," so be it, but I am discarding the idea that I was ever able to be part of the solution in the first place.
17. I am giving up any crazy notions of ever doing anything "meaningful" with my life, at least not anything that anyone but myself would find meaningful. I'm not having children, I don't believe in any kind of "afterlife," I am not leaving behind a legacy of any kind that anyone would care about. It's just me, and what pleases me, and to hell with the future.
18. I am giving up planning for tomorrow. No retirement plan, no savings, no home to buy, no care for my health or how I will pay for medical care without insurance, no nothing. I am going to live for today, live in the now. Long-term goals are based on fear, and I am not going to live in fear.
19. I am giving up any notions of being a responsible adult. If I haven't "grown up" by now, it's just not going to happen.
I am giving up all of these desires, and just focus on being. Come what may. I am not struggling against the current, not fighting anymore. I will take what life give me on my own terms, come what may. Ja will provide.
I talked about this list to my therapist on Friday, and she said she thought it was probably healthy. I do tend to beat myself up over not being able to achieve any of these goals, so instead of constantly fighting myself in trying to achieve things I cannot achieve, I should just accept who I am and move from there.
Some of these are painful to give up. Some are easy. But I think that in deconstructing many of my desires, as well as stopping listening to the "should" messages that I get from society around me from my own head and background about who I "should" be and what I "should" do, I can focus more on who I truly am and truly want to do.