Things I’ve always said I’d never do have become regular habits over the last year or so. Recently quite a few people–including some of my regular readers–have asked me how I do it. In today’s post, I’m going to attempt to explain.
Writing Glass Houses was the beginning of my transformation. I never thought I could write a book. Now I’ve written two, and have been thinking a lot about the plot for my third.
Glass Houses started the ball rolling in three ways. First, thanks largely to encouragement from some of you, I decided to give writing a book a try. That I finished it and that others have enjoyed reading it, even in draft form, thrills me to no end.
Secondly, and perhaps equally important, the process of writing Glass Houses forced me to re-examine my life in a way that’s only possible when you’ve lived more years than you likely have left. For most of my life, I’ve carried around the way I felt about myself back then–whether we’re talking about my childhood, teens, twenties, or thirties. Looking back with much wiser and more adult eyes, I was able to see things more objectively. The twenty-twenty vision of hindsight (and a year of therapy) helped me to forgive myself and others for feelings I carried around for way too long.
The third impact has been the way people who’ve read Glass Houses have responded to the story. For some reason, I’ve always felt that if people really knew me, they wouldn’t like me. I suspect on some level, most people feel the same way. If you do, I’ve got good news. Through reading Glass Houses, people get to know me very well. Because they relate to all or part of my experience, reading my story has brought us closer. The details may vary, but everyone has a story to tell, and most are afraid of what people would think if they only knew.
I suspect the fear that people wouldn’t like me if they really knew me is a form of self-loathing. Deep down inside, I really didn’t like myself very much. Thanks to all of the above, that’s no longer true. I’ve decided I’m a pretty decent guy after all.
Coming to like myself was a slow and gradual process that has taken place over the last two years. Once I started liking myself, I wanted to treat myself better because I knew I deserved it. I started exercising and paying more attention to what I ate because I’m worth it.
So now I’m a writer–something I never thought I could be but always wanted to do. I eat healthy–something I never thought would happen because on some level, I didn’t want to. Yeah, I still slip now and then, and I definitely have a weakness for certain kinds of junk food. But I make healthy choices much more often than not.
My activity level has dramatically increased. I get resentful if something interferes with Zumba or if I’m not able to run at least three times a week. The more I do, the more I’m able to do. And the more I want to do. I’m no longer content sitting on my ass in front of the television. Yeah, I like my television, but only after I’ve worn myself out doing other things. I never saw that coming.
Pursuing my interests has also helped me to develop lots of new friendships. I truly love the friends I’ve made through this blog and Twitter (many of whom I’ve never actually met in person), through my writer’s group, and at the gym–especially all my Zumba pals. I have more friends now than at any other time of my life, all because I put myself out there and like myself enough to think others will like me, too.
I love my new lifestyle–a lifestyle I never would have imagined for myself even this time last year. The changes didn’t happen overnight. It was a slow and gradual process. Baby steps, a few at a time.
If you’re like I was, then you probably dismiss the changes I’ve made as something you could never do. Maybe you don’t want to change, or maybe you think you can’t. But I’m here to tell you anything is possible. If I can do it, I know you can, too. It hasn’t been easy. But it hasn’t been that difficult, either. It’s mostly a matter of getting started, and until it “catches” as a part of your routine, sticking with it.
If you don’t like the life you have, change it. You don’t have to write your life story, but talking to someone wouldn’t hurt. Got something you’ve always wanted to do? Give it a try. If you want to eat better, do it. If you want to be more active, take a walk. The more you do, the more you can do.
Never say never. You can do whatever you want to do. Seriously. That’s what my partner and I have done, and we couldn’t be happier here in…
My Glass House