For those of you really, really good at calendars, it has been almost 6 weeks since my last update. Now for the mea culpas that really don’t matter as to why it took me so long.
As I’ve mentioned in the past, I have a couple of goals that are still being defined for this blog, and by extension, my life going forward. The main one is to use the blog to retain the relevance, impact, growth, and happiness that I enjoyed in my previous career and find a way to remain relevant to myself and others for my future. The other is to communicate with others who share my lung disease to simply say “I’m here if you need me”.
OK, I lied. There is one more than a couple of goals. That would be to entertain and interest you enough that you want to come back to have more of a conversation with me here, as well as on my Twitter and Facebook pages.
Now that we are past all the mea culpas, time for the real reason.
I’m not talking punishment, repetition, or lockstep actions. When I talk discipline, it is a state of mind, an ability to organize, prioritize, and exercise what you want to accomplish.
At St. Thomas More High School in Philadelphia, Mr. Pyne was our “disciplinarian”. The job description of this position is a major reason why DISCIPLINE is assigned such a negative mindset. If you saw Mr. Pyne, you had committed an infraction and were about to be punished.
You would be sent to DETENTION!!!
Detention consisted of sitting quietly in the school auditorium for an hour “reflecting” on what you did. Kind of a teenage “time out”. As hard as it may be to believe, I only had detention once in my four year high school tenure. I got it because I was the “one too many” who used the excuse that I got stuck behind a trolley on the way to school.
In reality, I was not a daredevil in school. Aside from just narrowly missing being caught when we explored the catacombs above the auditorium (they had been sealed off for years), I simply sucked at detention worthy efforts. When I was in second or third grade, I played hooky for a day. However, I spent the day laying on some lawn furniture right outside my house, like I wouldn’t be seen or caught. Diabolical!!!
Even in real life, discipline is too often associated with punishment . I have found out that, especially recently, discipline is an essential element in any effort that you undertake in your life.
For example, I used to weigh 420 pounds( I am now at 260 and counting). I weighed that for years. However, I substituted satisfaction with myself for the ability to see what I could be. That was not to be more handsome or ripped, but simply more able.
Still, discipline was terrifying, because it meant change. The trouble is that the word itself implied forced change, not willing change. That thought process went out the window when I finally got my head convinced to get my body in better shape.
The gastric bypass required a lot of preparation, including psychological, to make sure I was mentally ready to make this work. Otherwise, it would have been a total waste of effort and potential. However, the discipline came into play because what followed the actual procedure demanded a progressive discipline. Not one borne of remorse and punishment, but one born of renewed potential, energy, and life.
The discipline required after gastric bypass extended to learning and understanding a new way to eat as well as discovering other ways to make the weight loss work. As you probably know, gastric bypass is not magic. The surgeons do not simply cut fat out of you. The operation will start you off, but if you do not find the discipline to follow new dietary requirements and lifestyle changes, you will wind up failing at the effort.
This newly discovered discipline extended to how I approached everything else in my life. I found myself more focused on planning and executing anything that I undertook. And it worked. I found that, for the first time in my life, I actually had total control of my successes and decisions, that blind luck played less of a role in my life.
The same happened with my knee replacements. This operation removed excuses and allowed the discipline required to recover to morph into the discipline needed in other areas of my life. Mea culpas took a back seat to my actions.
Then along came my Interstitial Lung Disease. This too requires discipline to handle it, but a much more exhausting discipline than anything else I have ever undertaken required. It is a discipline borne as much out of a desire to survive as it is a desire to progress. So much that I now do is to slow down the progression of the disease.
Now, I attempt to find relevant ways to channel that survival discipline into as productive a discipline as I can muster to feel as useful as I did when I was able to work. That involves this blog.
I have written over the years, including a few years of covering children’s videos for an industry trade publication. However, when I’ve written in the past, there was always a defined subject, one that related directly to my position. Now, I have no defined position, so my writing has taken on a more exploring tone. My blog posts cover what I have lived, what I hope to live, what I love and what I hope to learn to love. Aside from the lung disease updates, I try to write with an eye towards what I would want to read and share with others.
Discipline to write consistently has been lacking recently. I cannot really mea culpa this. Part of it is that I still have not found my relevance in my current and future world. This leads to confidence that what I write appeals or informs at least one other person.
The rest of it is simply losing the discipline to not mentally dismiss your own efforts and not feel so important to yourself anymore. That is a tough discipline to get around. That leads you back to the old “I’ll get to it soon enough” mindset. That leads to doing it later. That leads to a loss of the discipline that I now cherish. It isn’t a lack of desire, it is a lack of self-motivation.
And that it the essence of discipline, at least according to the ADIMIKE55 DICTIONARY. Discipline is simply self-motivation. And self-motivation is something very precious that should never be lost.
Let’s just say that I misplaced it recently while trying to figure out my life. But I think I found it under my skin and am ready to rev back up from discipline to desire.
So, back to writing on a more regular (and hopefully consistently informative) basis. And if you find me lacking in discipline, feel free to send me to detention. After all, I can no longer blame the trolley for being in my way on my own tracks.