For as long as I can remember I’ve been a binge eater, drinker, TV watcher, dieter and exerciser. I’ve mastered the art of procrastination as well as perfected my ability to wrap everything up at the zero hour. After over a decade of therapy, I still have occasionally debilitating anger issues and I swear I will never be confident enough to attend a social gathering where I don’t know anyone. Given that I’m going to be thirty-five this year, all of this makes me wonder, will I ever get my shit together?
When you’re a kid, you have this vision of what you’ll turn out like as an adult. Mine was something similar to the character that Heather Locklear played on Melrose Place. I don’t know why I ever figured I would enjoy wearing short-cut tailored women’s business suits and working in advertising when I grew up; two things that at this age I couldn’t imagine hating more, but I did know that at some point, I would be as put together as she was.
Well that hasn’t happened yet. In fact, most of the time I feel incredibly out of balance. Despite my ongoing attempts to achieve a more harmonious existence, everything remains an extreme with me. Sometimes for weeks, I’ll take three hour naps in the middle of the afternoon. Then once I can’t live with myself any longer, I spend the next month going so hard in boot camp classes that I have to roll out of bed because my abs are too sore to support the weight of my upper body. If I’m not severely restricting my caloric intake, I’m stuffing my face full of junk and I often allow myself to spend a night out drinking heavily as a reward for being especially healthy during the days leading up to it.
I’m not even sure I’m all that different than I was in high school. I still watch TV like a teenager, laying upside down off the side of my couch with my legs sprawled everywhere. Do adults do that? I’ve never seen my parents do that, but then maybe they never did that in the first place.
I keep thinking that eventually something is going to click and I’m just going to be a normal person like I see walking around on the street. Maybe one day I’ll do yoga and be at peace without my mind forever racing with anxiety about what I need to do next and then riddled with guilt when I don’t do it. Maybe I’ll be one of those people you hear about who lost weight not because they went on a diet, but because they made a “lifestyle” change. I hate those people. If I ever start incorporating broccoli into every meal from this point on, that is simply a life long diet!
Even now when I picture myself in my fifties I’m ten pounds thinner and I must be financially stable because I’m never working. I’m almost always on a beach somewhere, smiling tranquilly after having just eaten a kiwi or something. When I ponder the future me, everything always seems to be in order but then I have to ask myself, when exactly is all of this going to pan out? Because this is it. This is my adult life. It’s happening now, yet I’m still all over the place.
Perhaps I would be better served coming to terms with the idea that growing up, in the way we thought of it when we were kids, never really happens. That there is no such thing as a “normal” adult walking around on the street. That our perception of all grown-ups to be completely happy and well adjusted when we were children has led to the unrealistic expectation that we would someday turn into one.
In that case, should I stop trying to so hard to change the things that I don’t like about myself and accept me for who I am? No more breathing through my anger or meditating through my anxiety or hating myself for staying out too late and doing things I shouldn’t have. Because honestly, I’m kind of tired of trying to be better all the time. Instead, maybe I should just roll with the kind of crazy I am and acknowledge that we all have our issues, these are mine, so why bother getting worked up over them?
But if I do that, do I then forfeit the chance that I may one day turn into that calm, happy woman who’s retired with beachfront property because I’m no longer trying to improve myself? I mean isn’t being unsatisfied what ultimately makes us strive for better things?
Either way, I’m sure I’ll stress the issue to death because that’s who I am. It’s either all or nothing with me. Always has been, always will be.