I went to dinner with a friend of mine yesterday evening. My friend’s name is Gary, and I think a lot of him. He is more like a mentor or confidant, but also someone who I enjoy spending time with. He has been there with me since the early days of my sobriety, and I still rely on his advice, his wisdom, and willingness to be a listening ear.
I was speaking with Gary about my most recent obsession (as I always have to have one). I have a habit of falling in love with a hobby, and becoming so passionate about it, that I spend a large amount of my time obsessing over it. I want to learn everything that there is to know about whatever it is that I am focusing on for the moment. I want to be the best at it. I want to know the most about it. I want all of the shiny equipment, and I want to know all of the “ins and outs”. I want to understand the inner workings, how it came about, and what is it’s purpose. I want to know how I would handle each hypothetical situation and be fully prepared to handle any situation or answer any question in the event of X, Y, or Z taking place. I tend to become so fixated on my latest interest that it becomes more of a worry than a hobby.
I worry that I worry about it. I am obsessed with the thought of being obsessed with my obsession. I dwell on the concern of my concern as to if I am overly concerned with whatever area I am exploring, or whatever “thing” it is that I am learning. I stress over the idea that I might not master the skill, and most importantly, I might not master it today….and if I don’t learn it today, then it might as well be never, because I will die if I have to wait. Tomorrow is far too far off in the horizon to put off obtaining something that I want. Tomorrow is a unit of measurement that was taken straight from Lucifer’s playbook, and is used only to remind me of his existence. Tomorrow takes forever to get here. I want it now.
As I was explaining my predicament, I was watching Gary as he tried not to choke on his chili while listening to me ramble. He was laughing hysterically at the garbage that was spewing out of my mouth. With each wave of laughter, I would immediately try to justify what it was that I was explaining. I was digging deep, and making less and less sense as I plead my case. Gary was coming un-glued, I thought he was going to die of laughter. I was like a fourth grader trying to talk my teacher out of sending a note home from school. He understood my predicament all too well. He looked at me and began to explain. He said,
“You are an intense person. Everything I know about you is highlighted or underlined with at least a degree of intensity. Everything about your past is surrounded by intensity, and everything about you now has, on some level, a high level of intensity. Everything about you going forward will have intensity alongside of it. This is not a good thing or bad thing, it’s just a thing. It is part of your essence. If you are going to obsess and worry over “something”, don’t make that “something” be what it is that you are, because that you cannot change. That will make you miserable. This is a classic case of self-manufactured misery.”
His point was that a leopard can’t change his spots, but he can become a better leopard. I shouldn’t focus on changing “what is, and will always be”, but to step back and see who around me is being affected. Gary then said this,
“It all boils down to this….is it causing you pain? If it is not causing you or the people around you any pain or duress, then don’t worry about it. Before reaching the point of causing pain and suffering, it is merely a choice of how much misery you want to allow yourself, before you realize that it is just part of your being.”
Misery is not the same as pain, as they are not mutually exclusive. My problem is that I manufacture my own misery, while there is not even the threat of pain, even though my misery is based on the fear of pain. I guess that what I am trying to say is that, if I am going to attempt to change some aspect of my behavior, it would be time better spent if I focused on the things which are the results of my essence, as opposed to my essence itself.
I guess that falls somewhere along the lines of accepting the things I cannot change, changing the things that I can, and having the wisdom to know the difference. I’m feel certain that I have heard that somewhere before. Oh well…
Are you as exhausted as I am? There is no way in hell that I am re-reading that. What a brain dump.
Have a great day.
Peace, Love, and all things Beef related,