My Own Best Friend
October 13, 2015
Mescalero, New Mexico
My Own Best Friend
I almost titled this “My Own Worst Enemy” but then I thought better of it, that is not who I want to be, even if at times that is just who I am. No, not today or ever again if I can help it, that is my affirmation for myself. Having spent a lifetime trying to live my life to the best of my ability I am once again confronted with my failure to do the same. If I am healthy and happy to a great extent and well along my chosen path so too I have my failings. There are those who would contest much of that but others would agree, they would recognize, as I do, the need to excel in order to meet those expectations we have chosen for ourselves.
I have been accused of being an overachiever and more than once compromised a viable form of employment for the same reason, just as I am currently suffering from the same. Go with the flow they tell me, keep your mouth shut, we do things differently here…..the list goes on. I have battled that frustration for the past three and one half years and yet I am still here, albeit at a cost. So it has been with my dearest friendship also, we have gone back and forth but as with my work we have made the necessary adjustments also, but at my expense as well. I will admit to much misery also, and it has been reflected in my words as well as in my actions. So too I have met the challenges and one by one addressed them, as I should, and have been rewarded for the effort.
Today I am my own best friend, and a better friend for my companion also. I will give him credit for this, he has taught me yet another precious lesson and if that is all I ever receive from him, though there has been much more, it will have been worth the struggle. Neither of us wishes to be failures and yet we share the same weaknesses as well. Although I don’t drink I get buzzed on his drunkenness and allow him to carry me to the carefree spontaneity that I don’t always allow myself. I have wasted days and weeks in the process, while also being drawn into his weakness. I am the caretaker, he the user. We have been doing this dance for years and I am quite good at it, so is he. The difference is that my life is not static, even if his is, and as time goes on I progress. He has made those adjustments also and even if he is still very ill, he is better also, or so I hope. He is sinking even as he swims forward, and only time will tell.
Weeks ago I swam to shore and took a breather, knowing that I must. A series of events, and failures led me to free myself from the weight of my friend’s failings. I walked away for a moment and I realigned my focus on myself and all of the things I had neglected. I came up with quite a list and have since addressed at least the easy stuff. I also looked at myself and realized that I could no longer fit into my ‘skinny’ jeans. I have some real skinnies (Size 4) that I will likely never get into again but so I have a lot of others (Size 6 Rustlers) that are but ten pounds away. My sorta skinnies (Open Trails) are getting threadbare and nobody has them right now so I need to make a change. My friend is getting a little chubby also and for the first time when he teases me for my ‘spare tire’ I can counter also, and we have had some good laughs, though it has made me serious as well.
My own best friend came to see me the other day. She waltzed into the room in her full glory and we had that ‘girlfriend’ talk which we haven’t had in quite a while. She asked me how I was and what I was doing with myself and I will admit I got a little teary eyed when I told her. She listened quietly and then she smiled and looked me deep in the eyes as she replied, “Time to get your shit together again don’t you think?” “Yeah, you’re right, huh?” was my reply. So I have, just as I, not so long ago, took that long look in the mirror and decided on the same.
My friend poked me in the belly the other day and said, “What’s this?” I laughed as I poked him back and he said, “Yeah, huh, I guess I can’t say anything” and we both laughed before I got serious. “I am going to get rid of mine before you get rid of yours!” “No way, I’m stronger than you!” “Oh really? We’ll see……….” “Ok, now you’ve given me a challenge!” “Ok!”
Since that discussion with my friend I’ve been working out, taking the example he has set for me and the same which brought us together in the first place. He is an exercise buff but I am not, as I prefer the forced labor of hard work. I would rather apply the concerted effort that goes into wood cutting, farming and gardening and all of the things I focused my life on for so many years. The trouble is I am not doing those things since I am getting paid so well to sit on my ass and be miserable. That has changed also and even as I have altered my attitude about work so I have turned my focus back to myself.
A week ago I did ten sit-ups and flagged. Today I did thirty, plus ten push-ups, 15 curls on each arm and I am jogging again. I already feel better and have to believe I look better, it doesn’t take me long to recover. The roll of fat over the top of my jeans isn’t quite so noticeable and my attitude is better. I am also, ironically, working harder. Productivity seems to spread across the board. If I have decided to improve my life, so I also plan to stay the course, at least for the moment. My best friend reminded me of all the things I somehow forgot. Oddly enough the moment I turned back to the path I so love, all the joy began to return also. Sometimes it is so easy to be our own worst enemy and to focus on all the negative things in our lives, and how they are defeating our purpose. So it is we can turn that around also and fight against the same.
My friend, he went back home yesterday to sober himself back up. He will be running and lifting again if I know him at all, ready to meet his own challenges as well as the one I have offered him. It is a quality I so admire in someone who struggles so hard to defeat his worst enemy, his self. So I turned all of my attention back towards myself also and I plan to stay just one step ahead of him this time……my own best friend requires that.