Begin.

Today is another new day. Looking out the window this morning from my bed I saw a cloudy overcast sky. It’s not a day for bike riding. I want to bike ride but part of me does not want to bike ride. It’s great exercise for me. It has been over the last few days. It’s been a great release for me. But still I find myself wanting to stay in bed. To pull the covers up over my head and shut out the world. Part of me wants to shut everything off and just stay confined.

I feel this way around others sometimes. When I’m in my buildings elevator, I’m uncomfortable if others get in. Even though these are my neighbours and I should be reaching out to them, to discover who they are – I find myself recoiling, looking at the display that shows me the number of each floor we pass. I stray away from making eye contact. If they say hello, I return the hello and perhaps ask how they are. But I don’t say much else.

Why is this? Am I alone in feeling this?

Sometimes I feel as though words that come out of my mouth are unorganized, undisciplined and not worth hearing. I have a tendency to mumble sometimes and that can be a fear of mine. I don’t want to embarrass myself so I’ll say nothing or I’ll send it out in an e-mail. It comes from this shyness that is within me, a shyness that has been within me since high school – those torturous times of high school.

But I’m here today. I look out the window, through my drawn shade and I can see a bit of blue peaking through the overcast and grey sky. I feel grey inside today. Even though I want to be a bright blue sky with sunshine pouring down. I don’t feel like I’m up to it.

Even if the grey overcast sky scares me from going out on the bike, I should at least get down to the gym for half an hour. I’ve probably blown the time I have for going out on the bike anyway, as it is now 7:45 am. It would mean a very short bike ride for me today, as I have to be at work around 11:00am. Normally, I like being out on the bike earlier – around 6:00am at the latest. But today, I slept in. I first woke at about 5:30am, but looked out the window and decided to rest a bit more. I did this a few more times before I finally decided to read a bit. I read the first chapter of Julia Cameron’s “The Right to Write.” It’s a good chapter. It is titled simply – “Begin.”

And so, I begin.

The chapter was short. I may scan it to a PDF and e-mail it to my INNOVATION & CREATIVITY teacher. I think it would make a good handout. It helps explore on a more simple level the ideas behind Julia Cameron’s idea of MORNING PAGES.

I didn’t get up until about 7:33am. And at that point, I decided to write. One of her exercises is to write for three pages. Julia wants us to write on a full size piece of paper – 8 ½ by 11, but I don’t have any nice 8 ½ by 11 paper on me. I want to get a spiral bound notebook for that. Then I will continue it that way. I’ve written before in notebooks, but usually they are smaller so I can carry them around. I can still do that. But I like writing on the computer too. I like the ability to save it electronically. To save paper (although I could purchase a notebook made from recycled paper).

The computer also sucks electricity though. It uses power and energy that perhaps I should be conserving. Am I worthy enough to be using so much electricity to record my simple thoughts?

She wants us to write three pages and then stop. If I was writing, three pages would be less words than the pages I am typing on. The typed word takes up less space than the written word, unless you have very small handwriting or printing. I don’t. My words pour across the page in a printed form. I don’t like my writing. I was never good at handwriting, so I print. It’s cleaner for me.

But back to the question of whether or not I am worthy. I am worthy. I cannot think negatively about myself, or I know I will fall into the crevasse of regret and self-doubt. I need to remove those from my life. I need to not be afraid of who I am and what I have to offer. I have to make the main thing the main thing, because that is the main thing. I am the main thing and I want to make positive contributions to the world around me. I want to treat myself well, with respect and care. I want to take care of my body (which is why I should be out on the bike – but if I am afraid of it raining, then that is why I should be downstairs in our building’s gym).

I can still work on my endurance in the gym. I could do exercises to help get rid of my belly. I want to shed the gut I’ve grown, because I know that it is not healthy. A year ago, I was diagnosed with having fatty liver. I don’t want that. Through exercise and eating properly, I can get myself into a more healthy state. Even though I may ache and be in pain while my muscles adjust from the atrophy of little movement that they have enjoyed because of my past laziness.

So I’m almost at a page and a half. I could probably stop at two pages but I want to keep going, perhaps to two and a half pages.

I want to keep writing. And I’ll probably post this to my blog. I like posting to my blog. Every now and then a friend will read what I’ve wrote and make a comment on it. I got a few comments regarding the situation with my friend, who a few weeks ago left me waiting for forty-five minutes in my car while she worked to get ready to come with me as I was going to give her a ride to her sister’s place. But I got annoyed with waiting. She had not told me it was going to take her more than forty-five minutes, or I may have said I can’t wait that long. I know I told her that I wanted to go fairly quickly, so perhaps ten minutes, or fifteen minutes or at the most even twenty minutes would have been fair.

But was it selfish of me to just leave? Should I have had more patience? My friends have said that she takes advantage of me because I used to be romantically interested in her. But she is a good friend. She is not romantically interested in me, and so we remained friends. At times we have been very close friends – having the ability and trust to share our deepest thoughts and secrets. But lately, I’ve felt a distance between us. I’ve said this to her, but she has said nothing. In the past, I’ve always treated her well too – paying for her supper, or for her movie ticket. Driving her around. Expecting nothing in return. My friends think I shouldn’t do that so willingly, that she should step up to the plate more and make things more even by paying her own way or offering to treat me back in return for the times I have treated her.

I don’t mind treating her though. I enjoy it. But it does cost money to do that. And this year, I was further disappointed by her, as she never wished me happy birthday. Others called me on the phone, left me messages, e-mailed me or posted greetings on my Facebook wall. I never heard from her on the day of my birthday.

She never got me a gift or a card. She’s never acknowledged that I turned thirty.

Normally, I do organize a big party though but this year I didn’t. Now that it is May 17, more than a month has passed since April 15. I didn’t want to acknowledge that I was turning thirty. I wanted to turn back the clock. I’m only ten years from forty, twenty from fifty – I’m half way to sixty I would say.

But aging is a part of life, is it not? It’s not something I can control. So I need to learn to live with it. I need to learn to treat myself better. To enjoy everyday. I need to learn to forgive myself. For leaving my friend a few weeks ago. I need to learn to forgive her and perhaps share my feelings with her – that I have felt a distance between us. That I did not like the fact that she ignored my birthday. That I don’t like the fact that she can be negative sometimes, filled with her own self-doubt and depression which she does not have control over, as she suffers from a clinical depression. But she too has the ability to control it. She does take medicine for it, and she has said she has found a medicine that is working.

But even though it is working, I think she could still push herself to another level, like I am trying to do now. I’d like to help her do that, but I don’t know if she would want that help. I don’t know if I can help. But I should help. The world is a bit better if we all try to help each other every now and then, is it not?

I’ve always thought it is.

I always remember one time when I volunteered at the West End Vancouver Community Police Station. A man came in and was complaining about his situation in life. He was a middle aged man. I believe he was homeless, or at the least, lived in low income housing. He was gay and had been abused by his gay lover. He was broke. Everything in life seemed to be going wrong for him. He and his lover were known to police. I was alone at the station, there were no cops there and I was the only volunteer on shift. But an officer was on his way to help. But while we waited, he talked, and I listened. I was young, and could not offer much to help but in the end he thanked me because I had genuinely listened to him. And even though I did not offer any solutions, he respected the fact that I had listened intently to what he had to say. And I was listening intently – and it showed. And he thanked me for that. And perhaps that is all he needed from someone else – he just needed someone to listen to what he had to say.

Don’t we all want that? Someone to listen to what we have to say? Someone to respect that?

I look outside and to my shock a rope is hanging down. It cuts through the view that I have, coming straight down from somewhere up above, continuing down past my window below our floor. And now, a second rope has come down. Both are swaying and moving. The window cleaners are here as I reach my fourth electronic page. This week and next week they are cleaning our windows and building’s envelope. I’ll have to get up in a moment and close my window, which is open. My room can get very warm. For whatever reason, our in-suite air-conditioning has never worked in my room.

I’ll make my bed, I’ll put on my sweat pants and a t-shirt and go and exercise. It’s 8:15am, I don’t think I’ll have time to go for a bike ride. But I have time for a thirty minute work out. I can go hard on the treadmill, building up my endurance. I can do some exercises to help shed my belly.

I’ll do it so I can be in a positive space. So that my body can work towards a point where I feel more centred. More concerned. More agile. Less atrophied. More alive.

And perhaps I should still celebrate turning thirty. It’s not something I should be ashamed of.

– Steve

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