Structure

I am noticing today that my urges to smoke are pretty much aligned with “punctuation”, those spaces around and in between various things. And that’s all it really is. Smoking doesn’t change anything or enable me to do anything in particular, it just fills space. And space, while fine and dandy, is the real enemy I have. It’s weird – I have so many things I could be doing: playing my guitar and learning a new tune, a kintsugi project, my cursive lessons, reading, working on my various writing projects. But I don’t. Instead I watch teevee, browse music videos, nap. If I’m not working I’m not doing much of anything. And I find that smoking does not serve any purpose whatsoever, it just helps fill spaces.

I need structure, even to the point of being told what to do. This is why I could never be an entrepreneur. I am unable to provide my own structure. Not much anyway. Even now I have an urge to go smoke and think about what I’m writing, even though it won’t make this piece any better or allow for more work. It’s a punctuation, a pause.

I need structure. Accountability to someone else. As an example, tonight I will bake a cake for my clinical director’s birthday tomorrow. Minal loves my flourless chocolate cake, as does my wife. Saber will get a small piece. But I wouldn’t bake the cake or any other goody except that it serves another and there’s a clock on it.

The first edition of my Stage 3 DBT manual, originally titled Pyretic Patterns, only came about because Minal put a clock on me. The second edition, re-named Dialectical Patterns, is sitting on my desktop gather digital dust. Because the momentum has gone from the project. I need structure, I need a deadline. I need accountability and collaboration. I need help.

Nietzsche wrote “He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.” Or as I tend to paraphrase it, “When your Why is strong enough you can tolerate most any How.” I guess I currently don’t have a Why. Or at least my Why isn’t strong enough to overcome my inherent inertia, to interrupt my personal positive feedback loop. And what is just super annoying is that I am aware of it.

My Emotional Mind right now is crying out to give up, say “Fuck It!” and admit that I am a smoker, always will be. 50 years is too much to overcome. It may be right.

But for right now I will impose structure by going and vacuuming the living room. I guess I will find meaning in the mundane, as the noble or worthwhile eludes me. It’s something though. For now.

I need structure, something to point at, work towards. I understand goal setting and all that. I have several goals both short and mid-term. But something is missing. Maybe it’s not structure. Whatever it is I hope to find it before I run out of time.

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