I love going out. I hate going out.

It’s 11:30 on Friday morning, the last day of February Vacation. I went out last night. I overdid it a little. I am very glad that I got the sleep in a bit. I had a very good time. I went to dinner with three friends at a restaurant where we know people and the chef was tableside moments after we sat down. It’s the kind of attention and VIP treatment that I love, while pretending to be a little embarrassed by it all. We spent a lot on food and wine. Everything was delicious and we spent so much time talking about the food and wine that we didn’t really talk about anything else. Which was also a relief, sort of. I got caught up in the joy of the moment and my love for creating such moments and started to try to calendar our next night there, and a couple of nights at some other places. Nothing got set in stone, or even on anyone’s phone. But I felt the walls closing in on me even as the words left my mouth. I love to go out but something has shifted inside of me.

A major part of my formal and informal education was learning to postpone gratification. In a set of pages I have now made private (100 days of scratch tickets, because I stopped buying scratch tickets) I talked about small rewards that help one survive to the big reward. I believe in those, yet somehow I have mostly weaned off of them (except for some food items) and I find my thoughts getting more and more hard-core postpone-ist/earn-ist about any treats I want. For example, this morning, while thinking about fitting a visit to a favorite bakery into my plan for the day, I thought: If I want bread I really should make it. I could argue, that I was inspired by wanting my treats to be healthier, or more cost-effective, but I think it might just be a control thing. Good, but that needs to be in balance.

Last night was wonderful but part of me thought of it as time wasted when I woke up this morning, and I’m not so happy about that kind of mindset creeping in. Once upon a time in my life I was pretty driven. I focused only on the coming achievement, no matter how far away that was, and anything good that happened along the way may as well have been a gnat too small to even become a speck on the windshield. In my own parlance, I ‘won’ in this way. I fulfilled the accomplishments I was striving for, but I also failed. I missed many a signpost to change my life and try to make myself happier. I also felt the bumps in the road hard, long and deep. My eyes on the prize mentality kept me from seeing setbacks in perspective.

I have been very excited about the reemergence of my driven self. She represents a time when I felt very keen in body and mind. She is an aspect of me that I favor, and like to default to. She is also kind of bitter, very insecure, and has an even harder emotional shell than the rest of me. She is all angry, terrified superego, where I have been working hard to live in a balanced routine of ego and id.

On the one hand I am very happy that I am so determined. I have clearly decided somewhere in my mind, that I don’t deserve anything I want (that is not practical or helping me meet my goal) until I reach my goal, which at this point is all about secure, stable, well-compensated and benefitted employment that I enjoy. Specifically, no celebration. As far as part of me is concerned there is nothing to celebrate until I make this work thing right for myself. I’m sure I feel like I was lazy last time and that the mess I’m in is all my fault.

I love that more discipline is returning to my life. I feel like I have been frolicking like a puppy without an owner for a few years now. I believe that discipline and focus will get me what I want, but I need balance. I can’t regret enjoying life. And I seem to need time and space to work that balance out. It’s not that I can’t celebrate. I just need to celebrate in moderation. But of course, as my acupuncturist passed on to me “Everything in moderation, including moderation.”

I really want to succeed at making my life better. But part of success is figuring out how to feel good and take care of myself through the whole process.

So easy to say. So hard to do.

 

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