An odd word, isn’t it? Nebulous as a blobfish with meanings as varied as the patterns in winter’s snowflakes.
Is it the same as what some of us would label “good enough” (a cop-out) or is it progress, an incremental step that takes us from where we are to an inch closer to fuck yeah?
Today, I can honestly say that I’m better — the reason being a combination of three things (facts). Perhaps you’re better on account of them — or will be one day — too.
I’d never really thought of it before this year, but everything that holds me back is bullshit I’ve created. Bullshit I’ve allowed to control my life and keeps me from reaching that level of fuck yeah I see others reaching — yet for me, seems out of reach. Coincidentally, it was my own bullshit that kept me from seeing all the bullshit I had going on. But enough about calling bullshit on bullshit. How did I come to acknowledge it?
I made excuses for nearly 20 months to not live after losing Jason. I didn’t much ride my bike. Hike. I sure as hell didn’t climb. I stopped reading. I saw the world as being in my way of coming out on the other side of this…chasm. Somehow in that 20 months, I wrote two books. I cranked out a magazine column each month. I took clients. Blindly. But the one thing that made me acknowledge that “the world” excuse was a machination of my own fears was a single trip to Las Vegas. No, I didn’t lose my shit and win a gazillion at the craps or poker tables. I just decided to do something I used to do every goddamned weekend when I lived there.
I went an climbed a mountain.
I thought I was just getting out of the house, but I found myself once again standing where I’d stood for nearly three and half years of my life. In the process, I realized exactly what I needed to do — what I must do — in order to begin living again.
So how can you uncover the bullshit that’s invading your life and acting as a colossal roadblock on your path to where you want to go? Ask yourself: what do I miss? And then, go do it. You don’t need permission, a sick day, or a partner-in-crime. Just fucking do it and remember what it feels like to feel the way you do when you’re doing it.*
*Disclaimer: if you miss having sex, I do not condone getting a hooker. Especially if you are in a committed relationship. Maybe you really miss intimacy — which is what I miss when I’m on Celibate Island…even though they do serve up a nice hamburger.
Owning My Bullshit
Yeah. I found my bullshit. Everything I thought was everyone else’s fault. You know — death, failure, disappointment, my ass being a size I wasn’t happy with, not riding/hiking/climbing/camping or doing anything that didn’t involve making myself feel worse as soon as I’d done doing it. Owning it, however, was another matter entirely.
When it came to my business, I had to admit that I wasn’t getting where I wanted to go because I was spending all of my time and resources on things I didn’t like doing. Sometimes, things I hated doing. But how to you stop doing what you don’t like doing when the rent, car payment, and cell phone bill are due and your dog needs $700 worth of dental work done because he’s somehow broken two teeth the same week your cat turns up paralyzed and runs up a few grand in vet bills?
Well, it came down to this: you stop. If I didn’t stop now and just made yet another excuse for doing the stuff I hate just this once, I’m just perpetuating the problem. And it’s funny what happens when you work without a just this once-flavored net — shit starts happening, and fast.
As for the rest of my life, owning my bullshit meant that I stop putting it on other people. Stopped trying to make it their fault that I was in the shit and not getting where I needed and wanted to be. And it brought me back this weekend to thinking about being a kid and all of that bullshit I’d brought with me.
When you live a lifetime of being told any (and perhaps all at some juncture) of the following things:
- You can’t…
- You shouldn’t…
- You’re an idiot.
- Why would you do that?!
So today, I’m seeking better. Whatever incremental improvement I can find that gets me not only back to being the person I fell back in love with while on a wild and crazy, mostly celibate yet never solo journey from 2005 to 2009, but onwards towards a better version of that person. I know I can never go back to doing business the way I used to do it (as it just doesn’t work) and being who I was while leading my first trad climb in Red Rocks, Las Vegas. But what I can do is commit to the process of becoming better. Loving the process and laughing with every trip and fall, victory and misstep that finds me standing sure-footed on unfamiliar terrain.
What will you do today in the interests of becoming better? Maybe it’s finding out that you have bullshit. Maybe it’s owning it. But my hope is that you’ll do a little of it each day so you never find yourself in the chasm again. It’s a dark place. And even if you’re in the shit of it now, better is waiting. I never thought it was possible, but as I come up on the two-year anniversary of Jason’s death, I see more than possibility.
I see me again. And I look forward to seeing what she’s got in her and how she’ll pursue better. Daily.