Sunday, January 17, 2021

Different Everyday

The past few years, I've spent the beginning of January setting my path for the coming year. Either as a resolution or intention, or writing a sankalpa.

This past year I've thought a lot about the...misguided attempts at supporting a theoretical future version of myself. 

As you read from here, know that I'm writing from my own unique experience, body, brain, and my own lifestyle, which may be very different than yours. If this resonates with you, I hope it is helpful; if you feel prickly that I'm not not being open enough to your specific life experience (I don't have kids, for example), then this might not be helpful for you other than just understanding other brains, I guess.

Some habits make sense to me -- if you need gas, get it on way way home, so tomorrow-you doesn't have to make a special trip before work. Stay hydrated, sleep enough, these things contribute to supporting long-term-you.

Other things -- meal prepping, food/grocery subscriptions (things where you are pre-selecting items to be delivered at a later date/regular intervals), signing up for daily challenges, pre-planning my workouts for the week...I have a complicated relationship with these things.

On paper, they are great. Sometimes they do fit the bill for a long time! They remove later decision-making and stress. We know what we need to do. We signed up, there is accountability in place, our fridge is/will be full; all we need to do is this up-front admin work and then we're set!

In practice -- I assume a lot of things about later-me that are not always true.

These plans/products function on the assumption I am the same me every day.
The same me that already knows what food I'm going to want,
and what my energy level will be, what my emotional state will be,
what my external environment will be like
today and every day in the future.

When that day arrives and future-me (now current-me) isn't up for past-me's plan, I feel deeply ashamed.

I feel like I've done something wrong, or I'm being lazy,
or I'm BROKEN in some way.

Over time, I stop participating in these things
because I ended up not being that same me
that was so motivated and renewed and ready to go
when I made those big (unrealistic) plans for future-me.

This year, I chose a mantra
"I'm not the same person every day."

This helps me find peace with not feeling like I fit in with challenge/diet culture and other 'grind culture' capitalism things that treat us like we're just robots running the same script every single day.

So I write this for my friends who want to move on from shame-feelings
as you turn your focus inward and tune into the things that are actually helpful to you and your well-being.

You don't have to check things off lists
and meet goals
and eat that fucking soup you prepped
every single day.

We can find joy and flexibility here
having a loose structure of activities and foods and projects we like to do,
and knowing they are available whenever we want them to be.
And knowing we have permission to take each day at a time
and ask today-you what feels right with all this new, current information.

It may even free up your brain-space enough
to find something past-you didn't even know was possible yet!

Just be very well-versed in all your cancellation policies :)


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