Why Do I Feel the Need to Improve Myself
My friends say I am a machine. They always see me moving around and partaking in a wide range of activities and never around to hang out with them. I would wake up at 5 AM in the morning nearly every single day and not get back to my apartment until 11 PM, due to social activities or a conflict with my 3 jobs. This leaves little room to hang out with them and bond with people. I think to myself whether I am hurting myself by constantly being on the go and not having the time for myself to relax. In the course of this article, I describe the various ways I have been pushing myself to the limit and still be able to live.
It feels like I am on this quest to seek improvements every single waking hour of my life. I find myself getting to the point of being really tired but not yet hitting the breaking point. Ironically, all of the habits that I’ve been incorporating into my life are supposed to be beneficial but because they are being implemented fast, it’s causing me to take a step back to see whether there is something wrong with me at all. I want to understand what the motives behind my desires to make these changes are. Is it fear? Is it a desire for constant change? Am I just bored with life? What is it that is causing me to reflect on my life and say, “Anh, you have to do more of this. And you need to do that to be a better person.” Or in the end, could it simply be, I am just living a life where I am learning to be open-minded to new opportunities and experiences.
For the past few months I have been putting enormous amount of pressure on myself. Before September of 2014, I was working one job, from 9AM to 6PM and had a reasonably good social life. But today, March 16, 2014, I now have 3 jobs, just completed a marathon, running a Meetup group, still playing dodgeball, and seeking to write an E-book and make rock climbing a routine habit and pursuing my teaching credential by going to school. In addition, I want to do P90X now that marathon training has been completed. Am I overwhelming myself or you yet?
To give an example of my schedule, I wake up at 5 AM every morning. I set aside 5 minutes to meditate after I wake up. I jump into the shower and turn the knob to the coldest setting possible, because I read on the internet that there are health benefits to cold showers and that we should learn to adjust to them. After the shower, I proceed to write in a daily journal I have that holds my personal development progress in life, modeled after a book I’ve been reading. I am on day 172 of 365. I write out my To-Do List and if it’s Monday and Friday, I’m out the door by 7 AM, to head to my elementary school where I have to shadow a kindergarten teacher until 1PM. Did I mention that I am trying to earn my teaching credential by December of 2014, while working 3 jobs. After 1 PM I head to work at the Queen Latifah office until 5-6PM. Afterwards, if its a Friday night, I bus tables in Culver City until 11PM at night and then go home to bed, only to wake up at 5AM the next morning to seek ways to improve myself. This either means putting focus in my Meetup group, Creative Gay Athletes & Friends of LA, or doing activities I enjoy in solitude. On the other weekday nights, I have social activities in place of my busboy job, such as dodgeball and so most of my schedule is taken up.
I fear that my social life is taking a hit from all of these endeavors. My group of dodgeball friends are people I seldom see anymore because our schedules do not connect, except on dodgeball nights. I had to turn down a friend’s invitation to go see a midnight screening of Divergent, because of my responsibility to work the next day. I feel like although my friendships with them is not entirely diminishing, I fear there is a lack of motivation on their end to hang out with me, only to expect me putting them on the back burner. But what do I do to make ends meet and not have to give up my aspirations to achieve my goals and objectives? What do I need to sacrifice and what are my motivations in pursuing the habits that bystanders could say are crazy.
In regards to my three jobs, I reason that I need them to be able to ease my financial concerns. I am always conscious about not having enough money to build an emergency fund or to pay off my credit card debt. I am frantic that I have not started investing much money in a Roth IRA, when I am still 27, something that I learned everyone should do at a early age. By working the three jobs, it allows me to put money aside to do all of these things, as well as earn some money on the side to have for myself. This in itself takes up the bulk of my schedule and causes much conflict in hanging out it.
Habit wise, I decided to seek meditation, cold showers, waking up at 5AM because all three are fundamentally strong habits to pursue. Meditation relaxes me and clears my mind for the upcoming day. Cold showers, I have read in studies, helps to jump-start your day and provide a level of energy that you may never see before and 5AM allows me to have the flexibility to get more done in the day.
And lastly this leaves my physical activities and social interests. I partake in dodgeball two nights a week because that is my social outlet and my main interest in athletics. The game is addicting for me and the interactions I have with my peers are fundamental to my life. I created a Meetup group called CGAFLA (Creative Gay Athletes Friends of LA) to seek out other like-minded individuals who like to be creative and to give me distance from my dodgeball friends also. And now that marathon training is over, my physical need will be taken up by P90X and rock climbing, to improve my fitness.
Before concluding, let me put out the disclaimer that I am not seeking compliments in regards to my schedule. To be honest, I’m currently sitting in a coffee shop with two other members of CGAF and we’re engaged in a 45 minute, non-stop writing session on our laptops and this was the topic that came to my mind under the time constraint. But it has been quite enlightening to read what I wrote because in retrospect, I don’t feel like there is anything wrong with my life or focus on personal development. Yes, I am busy. Yes, I am always seeking scientific research and habits that will improve my day-to-day life. Yes, I am always on the go but in the end, this is who I am and I am happy and content with what I have. I love the life that I am living and I am not stopping it anytime soon.
After sharing my writing with my colleagues, they asked me something interesting:
*Why am I asking myself this question. The thing is…I don’t know why. I tried to explain it verbally to them but it was not very clear. I’m content with the way I live so if I’m content, why bring it out in a blog posting in the first place. Is it an attention seeking post or to humblebrag? Or is it a way to address friends that I am aware that I haven’t been around as much? After re-reading, I’m still pondering about this question so if you guys have any ideas why I may be sharing, please let me know and perhaps I can get a better understanding of how my mind works.