training the dog

The last few days haven't been among my best.

The litotes of that sentence is almost laughable.

Sometimes they'll start out ok, even looking up - yesterday we strolled to the creek through the magical jungle of wisteria-draped pines and sat on the ancient rocks and listened to the water and it was just lovely - but somewhere around midday the world will begin to crumble and I begin to sink into myself. There's an unseen, terrifyingly real force that sneaks up behind me, takes hold of my arms and the back of my head, and physically holds me down. I don't know where it comes from; I don't know how to fight it. In all my tracking and plotting and marking down the variables of my day, I can't find a correlation, and that makes it seem even more like a wild beast that stalks me from the corners of my own mind, teeth gleaming wetly in its sharpened grin.

All my normal methods are useless here. My science is failing me, and I'm left naked and unarmed against the monster in my head.

So, instead of trying harder to forge my own sword and plot out the components of a perfect day, feeding my schedule and routine every new listicle I find on "These 13 Daily Habits Will Make You Happier Because Science!" and never managing to ward off the beast, I'm considering a different option: giving up control.

My dearest friend is a very smart man. He knows the habits, rules, and daily practices that are scientifically correlated with happy, successful people. He's had more success than I in actually implementing them in his own life, but of course there's always some internal reluctance to change. My proposition to him is that he take all of his accumulated knowledge - how to structure one's day, what to eat, how to move, how to work, and on and on - and tell me how to run my life. I'll entirely cede control of my schedule, diet, and habits to him. We'll start with a week, and see how it goes.

This brief essay is the first part of following his recommendations. First thing in the morning, before any other daily tasks (besides making my breakfast protein shake), he told me to write. Doesn't have to be perfect, doesn't have to be very long (although I'm aiming for 400 words), doesn't have to be in any way fit for public consumption, but it does need to be first.

I have no idea if this will work. All I know is that it's in an entirely different direction than any other method I've tried of warding off the black dog. And anything new is an adventure.

-b