I think now is the perfect time for self improvement. I have gone through almost 24 years of my life having so many goals, dreams and wishes for myself, but it seems as though the best things have come and gone. I still have great friends, for whom I count my blessings daily. I have a mother who cares about me unconditionally and is like a friend herself. And now I have an amazing job that lets me exercise my skills, learn new things, do almost exactly what I’ve been wanting to do for the past few years.
But what I’m finding is that these great things are all distractions. Take the word “distraction” and strip out all negative connotations. You with me? I’m talking about the most positive and wonderful of distractions. They are the things that buoy me when I’m feeling lowest, most defeated or exhausted. Talking to Carla on the phone at lunch today kept me smiling long after I’d hung up. Completing tasks at the office gave me a sense of pride, accomplishment, fulfillment. Planning a trip home in the coming months, looking forward to my former boss’s visit and a handful of other small joys gave me that last push that I needed to make it through my day effortlessly.
I am lucky to have these distractions. There are people who aren’t so lucky, who are downtrodden to the very brink of suicide or other self harm. I am so fortunate not to be there anymore. I have always had the distractions, even in my darkest hours, but it hasn’t been until very recently that I’ve recognized their value. I finally see that this is what makes a person’s life complete. These are the people and the things that keep us afloat in what can often be a frightening, frustrating, difficult world. Some people sail through without needing to recognize the value in their small joys and triumphs – more power to them. But for those of us who hurt, doubt and undermine our own happiness, we must dig deeper, work harder and sweat more to find the light.
So, once you’ve found the light, what next? I feel a little precarious trying to move forward at this point, having only recently grasped this piece of the puzzle. But I feel the need to press on, to keep up my momentum before the doldrums catch up with me. Now I must build on the distractions. I must find a way to take the joy that they bring me and infuse the central element of my life with it. Allow me to demonstrate:
Figure 1. Life in the dark, occasionally lit by distractions but mostly just withering on the vine.
Figure 2. Distractions have been absorbed into Life and one unit has been created. This unit glows fiercely with the joys brought in by the Distractions.
Forgive me for the badly drawn MS Paint diagrams. I don’t have Photoshop on this computer.
So, that is my next step. To either rip apart my life enough to give the distractions a way in or tug on them hard enough to pull them through life’s outer shell. I think the former will be easier. Or at least it will be a more thorough approach. Because then the old life will be dissected and deconstructed. I will recognize more things about it than I have before, and I will learn how to improve on the areas that I choose to leave behind. If I leave it whole and pull hard on the distractions, they may never make it in, I may find I’m too weak to complete the task or life may eventually reject them and spit them out into the darkness again, leaving me even more vulnerable than before.
I’ve always held the number 24 near and dear to my heart. It’s always been my favorite, for no apparent reason at all. I know all my problems won’t be solved by this August 26, but my hope is that the year that begins then will be the best year. That the 24th year of my life will mark a transition into a more well developed, self actuated, happy, fulfilled, motivated and complete individual. I’m ready for that next step.