Living each day much muchier
Some things happen over time. The only way to get there is to keep at it, every day. That’s a hard lesson to learn and not a very likeable one, but I think it might be one of life’s deepest and most fulfilling practices.
Have you ever tasted a sun ripened garden tomato and compared it to a force ripened industrial one from the supermarket shelf? They look the same, in fact the industrial tomato looks better, but they couldn’t be more different in smell, texture, nutrition and taste. It’s the same when we try to seek shortcuts in life, we may get there quicker, but we haven’t developed the skills and appreciation to make it work and make it last.
A financial windfall doesn’t teach a healthy attitude to money or the skill of managing it positively. I’ve just dug myself out of a financial hole and it took years. I had several windfalls during that time that did the trick. A sweet tax return here, a back-pay oversight there, they got me out of the hole several times over. Whenever I paid something off, I’d think ‘oh I’ve got space on my card’ and it felt like having money. Except it wasn’t. I repeatedly tripped and fell back in. Credit is not money. At best, it’s theft from your future self and I robbed myself day after day. I’d get stressed out and hope for another windfall, but the quick fixes taught me nothing about how to improve my long-term future.
About a year ago, I set spending limits and saving patterns that weren’t too rigorous and didn’t trigger rebellion spending. I feel like I’m finally on track now. Some skills, you learn the hard way and it takes time.
You never just get lucky with a good relationship. Relationships can spring up overnight, but intimacy and connection build over time and only with consistent investment. The giddy, early days of romance are easy to invest in. They’re effortless, but you can’t ignore the world forever for a lover. Other priorities creep back in.
Over time, when you look at what you’ve got, it will either be a force-ripened tomato that looks great from the outside but taste like endless hardship and hurt inside or it’ll be sun ripened and soft, full of flaws but still supremely delicious. Good relationships are the accumulation of your choices over time, how you tend it and what you put into it. Sometimes it’s sharing wonderful, quality time together but sometimes it’s choosing to stay vulnerable against the build-up of grievances and growing together. Those skills are only learnt the hard way and it takes time.
I can’t even begin to tell you how many diets I’ve been on and it barely scratches the surface of how many there are. Sooooo many 1200 calorie, magic ancient culture, metabolism boosting, meal replacement shake, track it app, fitness breakthrough nonsense roundabouts. It’s not only disordered eating, it’s disordered living and trying to get thin the quickest way possible wreaked havoc on my physical and mental health.
True health is more than looks. Health is the slowly accumulating, day by day choice to nourish, strengthen and nurture yourself. There’s no quick way to that. I say that claiming ceteris paribus, because health is an even longer and far harder journey from a place of deep illness. The choice to simply nourish yourself goes against a strong tide of habits and triggers cultivated by society. Huge industries exist to serve us unhealthy or quick fix pseudo-healthy choices and they make it seem like your only options are wine vs acai berry kale shake.
Sure, I could restrict my diet more and push my body harder until these become the defining features of my daily life. I might even win the weight loss jackpot of getting so sick that I can’t eat properly for days or weeks. But, the better I look on the outside, the more force-ripened and mentally twisty I’ll be inside, fighting and hating my body more and more brutally every day. I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t sound like health.
So this is the life lesson. It’s time to take the unpopular, countercultural, long way round. No short cuts. No quick fixes. No hacks. I choose a slightly wonky, but delicious, sun ripened self.
“… all good things beyond sleep come precisely because we defy gravity while we live.”