It occurred to me recently that I am living a largely theoretical life.
I may have clever or even divine inspirations, but I hesitate to act on them. I think of doing amazing, life-changing, progress-oriented things, but it seems that too often, I don’t follow through, or external things get in the way and for whatever reason, the progress is stunted.
For example, I have sworn off caffeine more times than I can count, yet at this very moment there is a half-empty bottle of soda nearby. I think about how other people do not need caffeine to function throughout the day, or how lovely it would be to start the day with a cup o’this instead of nasty, tooth-yellowing coffee. On a deeper level, I think about how the pathology of addiction is present, about how dangerous chemicals like phosphoric acid and HFCS are, and so on until it would be absolutely ludicrous for me to imagine touching another drop of any caffeine-containing beverage, for any reason. And then…inexplicably, I end up with coffee or soda in hand.
Now, I am also old enough to be able to look back at my adult life and realize that were it not for this unfortunate tendency, I would be happier and better off, all around. This problem goes far deeper than just beating the caffeine addiction. It’s really about how to Just Do It instead of forever languishing in the realm of theory and probability.
By nature, I am an analyst–I must dissect and cross-examine nearly every bit of relevant information that I come across. While this is generally a good habit to have, I am starting to recognize that this tendency is no longer as helpful as it once was in my life. I am no longer swimming (drowning?) in the vast seas of possible life-options–I have lived in this world long enough to be fairly sure of who I am, what I believe, and what I want to achieve. I don’t need to shuffle along the walls of every maze of information I come across, for fear of missing some crucial piece of information that might unlock the puzzle of my life’s purpose.
To move forward, from the realm of theory into actualization, I need to shift away from my tendency to over-think my actions and inactions. Instead of imagining how good it would feel to be caffeine-free, I need to just face facts: Namely, that it’s hard to go through withdrawal symptoms, that caffeine is everywhere and I should be forewarned and forearmed to deal with this fact, and that it might never be easy to live a caffeine-free life. But–and here’s the kicker–if I value being caffeine-free as a worthy life goal, as a positive thing to align my life with, then I have to Just Do It. No excuses, no rationalization, no backtracking or coddling myself mentally. If I absentmindedly spend my last few dollars in change on a delicious soy caramel macchiato (and yes, they are delicious), I should pour it out as soon as I catch myself–even if it’s before leaving the counter.
Better to berate myself for money wasted than for money wasted AND for allowing a goal to slip out of my reach yet again.