Row Boat

Dear J-

Patience and discipline are both like stopping a knife with your heart: it may not feel like the right thing to do, it’s not instinctual, and it’s going to hurt. Stick to a budget, for instance, whether calories or expenditures, and you’ll go hungry a lot, eyeing candy and consumer goods that are tempting but just out of reach based on what you did in the last month or two. I’ve been trying to refrain from both lately, as even with the bike rides that are becoming increasingly strenuous the later I get up, this gut and the pile of clutter continues to grow.

It works for other parts of your life — as they say, everything in moderation, right? Hence the self-imposed decibel diet. As figgy would put it, “No yelling today, okay? Just STAY HAPPY.” I’ve been watching my temper lately and I hope it’s making a difference. She gets frustrated as easily as I did when I was three, everything must be just so and so help you if you put things awry or askew. She has just as much control-freak tendencies as I do, difference being that at thirty-five, I supposedly have the ability to exert control, which brings us back to discipline and indulgence.

We make all kinds of bargains with ourselves mentally: oh, you know, I’ll get that done in a little bit. Once I finish this game. Once I have a little snack. Once I once upon a time. We sell our own indulgences and never realize that things are slipping; I’ve gotten through the homework assigned in class — 437 of 440 problems, if I count right — with a combination of late nights (this brought on by making the bargain of “once I get some uninterrupted time, whether it be getting figgy in bed or in front of the TV) and ignoring work around the house (room clean-up is proceeding at a glacial pace). Discipline needs priority as a guiding star, I suppose, but I’ve done more than I thought possible in a shorter time frame.

Mike

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