How To Sit Still

2018 was an exercise in restraint. Here is a short list of things I wanted to do and seriously considered doing at various points over the course of the year:

Quit my job

Start fertility treatments

Adopt a pet

Get a tattoo

Run a second marathon

Run an ultramarathon

Drink alcohol

Move to Arizona

Move to Denver

Move to Michigan

Move back to the city

Smoke pot

Ingest technically legal but definitely questionable addictive substances

Pull my daughter from her class at the neighborhood elementary school and enroll her in private school

Officially resign from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints by having my name removed from the records of the church

Officially join the Methodist Church I’ve been attending for over two years

Quit going to AA after over two years of sobriety

I did not do any of these things despite, at times, wanting to very badly.

Why not?

Because the things I want are not always good for me. The fact that I, in the moment, see no correlation between wanting to quit AA and wanting to get drink, smoke weed, and buy kratom is clear evidence that I can’t trust my first instincts or my subsequent rationalizations.

I recognize that some of the things on that list are not like the others. Wanting another baby is not like wanting to get high. Wanting the best education for my daughter is not like wanting to quit my job. Even so, they all belong on the same list of things I wanted to but did not do because in every instance, they were external things that I hoped would change me. They were escape hatches from my life.

This is why I can’t have nice things.

One of these days, I may very well move or join a new church or even get a pet, but not until I’m sure I want those things for their own sake and not because I’m looking for a fix.

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