“Stop Forrest” (A Lesson in Self Care)

I spent 33 years of my life trying to figure out what my calling was. I’ve been a construction foreman, a stock broker, a missionary, a drummer, a worm salesman, a writer, an addict, a journeyman ironworker, and so much more.

The older I got the more I felt like Sylvia Plath watching the figs of my future rot and fall to the ground.

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I felt like there was something bright at my core; something to offer; some light to let shine.

Fear and self-doubt were my constant companions. The first time I considered telling my story and trying my hand at public speaking, I was sitting in “the hole” of Utah County Jail.

“Nobody will listen. You are not special. You are not unique. Your voice carries no weight.”

So I hid for another year. I focused on the comfort of others while I slowly suffocated under the weight of my squandered potential.

Then one day something in me slammed its fist against the table and screamed “ENOUGH!!”

“YOU ARE WORTH IT. STOP HIDING. PUSH YOUR LIMITS AND FIND OUT WHAT YOU’RE REALLY MADE OF.”

I did. It’s been the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life and there have been countless times I’ve hovered my thumb over “Delete Account” on all social media and my blog.

However… the more I give of myself the more I get back. Drugs have lost all appeal, but hiding has been torturously enticing at times.

I’ve led an eventful life and I’m proud of who I’ve become. I’m grateful for all of my mistakes because of the lessons they’ve taught me.

I finally know where I’m going and what I have to do. Slowing down has become the hardest part. I’m still learning and still struggle daily. It’s so difficult for me to say “no” to people. I joked frequently about my diet of caffeine and nicotine.

That was until the day I collapsed on the stairs, sweating and heart racing.

I haven’t quit Red Bull or smoking, but I found a way to take better care of myself.

I’m always promoting baby steps, right? I’m taking my own advice. For every Red Bull or coffee I drink I have to drink two bottles of water. For every cigarette I smoke I have to do 10 push-ups.

It’s been a process and I’m not entering any triathlons this month, but I feel a little better. I’ve lost 15 pounds and I can see that my skin looks a little healthier. The bags under my eyes seem a little smaller.

I’m still not good at moderation. I’m a stubborn bastard and now (more than ever) I loathe having my limitations pointed out.

Nevertheless, even if I’m living on borrowed time, it doesn’t do anyone any good if I push myself into an early grave. Especially considering how much I love my life these days.

I didn’t like me very much during those years of addiction. Now I like me quite a bit… time to start treating myself like it.

 

 

 

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