Seeking joy and meaning in a joyless mind and meaningless existence

Tuesday, January 2, 2024

Goal Actually Achieved

    I've managed something I haven't managed in a long time: I actually achieved one of my goals. I wanted to get myself under 250 pounds before the new year started, and I was able to get that done. So far I've lost about 25 pounds and 13 inches on my waist. I've been amazingly consistent with my diet and exercise, sustaining them for far longer than I have in years. Yesterday was a holiday, and I've taken today off as a vacation day. During the long four day weekend, I've managed to walk a total of 35 miles in addition to keeping up with my strength training while even adding some new muscle groups. (I was trying for 50 miles, but I decided I shouldn't push my old ass too much.) I've been using my planned trip to Atlanta in April as a north star to keep myself motivated, and I've set a new goal of being under 220 pounds – a weight I haven't achieved since I became obese – by the time my trip comes around.

    Of course, the way I'm wired, all joys are tainted. I can never escape the entropic nature of existence. Age will eventually rob me of the physical gains I may make now. Even if I get into shape, I'll never be young and fit, a key component of the hopeful fantasies that sustained me throughout my life. (And at the same time, robbed me of my present, substituting delusion for reality.) It's too late for my fantasy of attracting a young and fit partner to come true since I have no desire to date someone who isn't age appropriate for me, so I have to reconcile the death of that dream that has been so central to my identity, self-conception and self-worth since I was an adolescent – not an easy ask. Still, as Albert Camus wrote, "The struggle itself towards the heights is enough to fill a man's heart." So I set my sights on pursuing that Sisyphian happiness.

He told me, "I see you rise
"But it always falls
"I see you come, I see you go"
He said, "All things pass into the night"
And I say, "Oh no sir, I must say you're wrong
"I must disagree. Oh no sir, I must say you're wrong
Won't you listen to me?"
{Q Lazzarus, "Goodbye Horses"}

Family Issues

   Recent issues that came up over the weekend in my complicated family dynamic were also making it difficult for me to stay positive towards healthy change. I was sorely tempted to drink Saturday night, or at least fall off the vaping wagon. I ended up limiting myself to eating pizza and a box of cereal as the lesser of evils. I know everyone's family situation is complicated; all family dynamics are messed up in some way. But I'm not exactly emotionally resilient, and I often feel caught in the middle and helpless when family issues arise because you can't control other people's feelings or reactions. Things fortunately seem to have settled down now, and hopefully they'll remain so.

But business is business and business runs in the family
We tend to bruise easily, mad in the blood
I'm telling you 'cause I just want you to know me
Know me and my family, we're wonderful folks
But don't get too close to me
{Amanda Palmer, "Runs in the Family"}