2018 – The Start

My personal rock bottom came at the end of 2018. Without going into unneccessary details, that was a year of constant mental, emotional, and physical blows, that left me burned out, miserable, and unsure of if I should even be alive. When this last realisation hit me, I realised my options were either make the strides to figure out why I was in such a bad place, or end it. I chose the former.

I spent about 6 weeks in what I called ‘Hermit Mode’, doing the bare minimum required of me. I went to work, I tried to get to gym, I cooked meals, I read, and I reflected. This was over the summer break at the end of the year, and most of my friends had gone home, which made the reclusion easier.

Part of the reflection was simply; what don’t I like? Specifically, about me. What is it specifically that I consider unhealthy about me? I’ll elaborate on my idea of “health” in another post, because it’s complex and deserves a proper unpacking. I wrote all of these things down in what I titled The Big List Of Things I Don’t Like About Me. Doing this helped me identify just how much responsibility and blame I was externalising, and wasn’t owning up for. I was palming off my drinking to housemates (living on campus, binge drinking was considered the norm), my lack of reading to uni (I’m so busy with it, how can I find time?), my mediocre results, again, to the uni (I felt like I knew it all, and decided not to engage, because to do so would be a waste of my time). And so on.

One of the immediate things I noticed, when looking at my excuses, was “I’m too busy” kept popping up. Too busy to read, to go to the gym, to see friends, to study, etc. This is something we often tell ourselves when we’re afraid to actually commit to doing things. “Busy” in my case meant hours a day scrolling through social media, or lying in bed. Hardly a valid excuse for falling out of good health and losing friends.

A lot of the reading I did was around self-help, and extracting the core principles from it. Don’t ask me to name them, I haven’t memorised them, I just tried to apply them to my daily life. And for the most part, I did. There were a few realisations in this process. Namely, that the way a lot of self help is presented seems inacessible to students. Be it funds, expectations of regular schedules, or simply life experience, it felt like this was something ‘real’ adults, with 9-5 jobs and mortgages and long term relationships, did, not barely out of high school students.

Over the 6 weeks of Hermit mode, from November 2018 to early Januaury 2019, I used these readings and reflections to build goals, took the time to process and recover from the seemingly endless barrage of challenges that had been thrown my way, and found the motivation to at least try to implement them. For me, this was life or death, and I had something to fight for. I wanted to be happy with who I was, where I was going, and proud of the things I achieved going forward.

Through these posts, I plan to detail how I set my goals, the goals I did set, and writing from mid-2020, reflect on how having them, regardless of success, has impacted me and how I view both myself and the world.

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