Disclaimer: This is going to be a long and very honest to god, personal post. This is less of an advice post and more of a personal reflection.
Last weekend marked a pretty significant event for me. It was the one-year anniversary of my college graduation. It’s crazy how fast time flies, and I went into a bit of a reflection tonight during my run.
I’ll be honest here: I’m not 100% happy or satisfied by the way things are for me right now. They say actions speak louder than words, and your actions reflect your true desires. As I ran tonight, I went though some of the major events in my life the past year.
May 2012: I graduated college. I felt extremely excited, on top of the world, pretty much like I was the shit. However I knew deep down I was in for a big change. From then on I would be considered an ATO Alumni, not an active member anymore. Pressure was huge on what I was going to do next. In fact, it was the only damn question people would ask me after I told them I graduated. I got pretty sick and tired of repeating the same answer over and over again: “I’m going to take prerequisite courses at a community college in order to get in to physical therapy school.”
July 2012: I moved out of the fraternity house and into a nice place with my old coworker and some friends of his. I became pretty isolated from my old fraternity bros because I lived “too far” for them to come out and visit my new place. Fact of the matter was that I only lived about 15 minutes away. Talk about having “a bond as strong as right itself and as lasting as humanity.” Assholes.
I spent most of my summer working full time and only really left town once to visit my brother in LA. The rest of the time I was trying to hang onto the remaining threads of my friendships with my fraternity brothers by driving back to the house and getting shitfaced with them and passing out on the couch. Classy.
September 2012: I tried to make something of my Kinesiology degree and got a short-lived stint as a personal trainer. Only problem with that was that while I really wanted to help people, they wanted a salesperson. After diving straight into the many shady aspects of business and sales at that gym, I got out.
On a chance occasion, I met an amazing girl. It was the perfect setup. It was a fun night out in the city with my brother with some of his friends, and a ton of drinking and eventually dancing. I literally bumped into her on the dance floor, danced with her a bit, and ended up exchanging numbers.
This relationship became my focus and my center of everything. I didn’t realize what a huge mistake that would end up being. She was great though, unlike any other girls I’d dated in the past. She was smart, fun, witty, had a great sense of humor, and beautiful inside and out. She was motivated, driven, and had a sense of class that I hadn’t experienced in any other girl. I fell hard for her, and because we lived an hour apart, my weekends started to focus solely around her. We went to baseball games, ate delicious food, explored the city, and met each others’ friends. It seemed like such a perfect thing.
January 2013: And in what I thought was the peak of our relationship, she dumped me. She had the courtesy and decency to drive down to my place and do it face-to-face, but it was completely unexpected. It crushed me. The most reasoning I got out of it was, “It’s not you, it’s me. You’re an amazing guy and I’m sure you’ll have no problem meeting an amazing girl. It’s just not me.”
That night I went and bought a decent amount of weed. It proved to be my sleeping medicine, since I knew I had many sleepless nights ahead of me.
February 2013: During my relationship I had fallen to a financial low, scratching at every opportunity to pick up more hours and working myself to death so that I could visit her. I was driving a shitty car which I put off getting registered because it costed too much to repair it so it would pass smog.
But things picked back up. I got a second job, I got a better car, I moved closer to my old friends, and my financial situation improved. While all of these things improved around me externally, I was still screwed up over this breakup. I numbed myself in any way I could in order to contain any thoughts or memories of her. I remember burying myself in work and drinking a lot.
March/April 2013: Time heals all, and the few friends I had left were pretty supportive of me. It helped that I got back into playing tennis again, it’s good to get consistent exercise. With my improved mood and wanting to get out and play the field again, I got back into the pickup art community again, a community that I had looked into back in 2007 or so. I read the books, tried some things, and, while I hadn’t been particularly successful, I realize I was doing more sitting and reading and studying when in reality the value of the material is to get out and practice.
So here I am today. I’m in community college, still working, still trying to meet girls, and in all honesty, trying to figure out my life, who my real friends are, and who I really am. In doing so, I’ve buried myself in a ton of self-improvement material, reading all kinds of crazy articles every single day, thinking of the next big blog post I should write. The part that bothers me is that I feel like I enjoy going to work, but possibly not for the right reasons. Is it because I love what I do, or is it because I love feeling like I’m needed?
The big message here is that I’ve been stuck in the past. I want to have a relationship that was as fun and adventurous, if not more, than the one I had with Jess. I want to have a career that is truly fulfilling. I want to be able to travel and see the world. I want to let go and be free of this anxiety that I’ve been having.
The answer is to let go of the past and be done with it. Have an empty cup so that you may fill it with the present. Don’t look towards the past or the future, focus on the now, for everything that is, is now.
I just re-read The Great Gatsby. Some of the major themes in that book were that of superficiality, living in the past, and the want to change yourself into something you’re not. With that, I’ll end this post with a quote from the book:
Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter—tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther…. And one fine morning——
So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.
-F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby