A stack of pancakes.

Please, Corey, Put Down the Pancake

What I learned about fulfillment from my day off.

The nausea isn’t surprising. That doesn’t make it any more pleasant though. I let out a groan of discomfort and try not to move. The TV’s flashing with the animated sequences of Rick and Morty. I focus on it, hoping to forget my gluttony. It works. At least, for a while. The dishes still need to be done, but there’s no rush. The day is mine for the taking (or the wasting). For some reason, I turn off the TV and start playing dance music on my phone. I then immediately close my eyes for a nap, music going all the while.

The alarm goes off. My cup still very much runneth over though, so I reset the alarm and close my eyes once more. Still, the dance music plays. Still, it doesn’t bother me. When the alarm goes off once again, I’ve had enough. I head to the kitchen and clean up the mess.

A few hours earlier, you would’ve seen me in the grocery store; I roamed the aisles, bag in hand, slowly adding to it the most sought-after of junk foods: chocolate chips, Golden OREOs, whip cream, syrup, ice cream. Upon checkout, I specifically went to the self-serve line. I didn’t want anyone to see my purchases on this morning. Ironically, I ended up needing assistance. I’m not smart enough to operate a self-serve kiosk, I guess.

My breakfast is every kid’s dream. Besides the ice cream that I’m saving for later, it’s a battle royale of sweet sugars. It’s an everything must go sale for my taste buds. The family pack of OREOs is nearly gone before I flip my first pancake. I eventually sit down on the couch with my stack of morning bread. The chocolate chips have melted nicely. The single OREO I placed atop the whip cream tower serves as a garnish. I dig in. I dig too far. It’s not long before I strike nausea. I need to sleep this off. Oh I know, why don’t I put on dance music. That will lull me to sleep. Oddly, it works.

 

Working without Reward

I took yesterday off. From writing, from eating healthy, from exercising, from practicing gratitude. All of it. Besides getting my daughter dressed for the day, it was like I was taking a day off from being me. Which, if you’ve gone a while without a break, may seem like paradise. This wasn’t paradise. This was boredom disguised as a break. It was binge-eating in hopes of feeling something. It was discontent being covered up with chocolate and the white of OREOs.

Fulfillment is not a slope of smiles and sunshine. It is a mountain with ups and downs. And, like on any climb, sometimes you want to sit. Sometimes you need to rest. That’s what I thought I needed too.

Later that evening, I created a Learn Log entry for myself. It’s something I occasionally do when experiencing a setback. I answered questions like what went wrong; why’d it happen; what will I do differently next time; etc. My answers revolved around pushing myself too hard. After all, I had just completed three 24-hour fasts in a row. Meaning that I had eaten dinner but nothing else over the past three days. In reality, that factor is certainly part of it. But it’s not the whole pie… or should I say pancake.

The other part of it, the bulk of it, really, comes from my work. For the past five months, I’ve published a new article nearly every day. I’m at something like 80 for the year. By blogging standards, that’s a lot. I like writing. It fills me up. However, not seeing the result that I was hoping for by this time is frustrating. Imagine running a mile every day for five months only to stand on the scale and not see a change in weight.

You may love running, but you might love swimming just as much. And if swimming can get you into that pair of pants when running can’t, where do you think your loyalty will lie?

 

Don’t Pass the Syrup

I took yesterday off. I didn’t want to take a break, but I needed to step away. To reset. Even though it was dull. Even though I was antsy and wanted to use my mind. I stepped away. Or rather, I slept away. I ate away. I sulked away. Fulfillment ebbs and flows. Sometimes it’s near-tangible, other times it leaves you questioning. But like climbing a mountain, you can either continue on or go home. And I’m not going home. Neither should you.

The question, then, is: how do you know you’re on the right path?

Have you heard of people going this way before? Do you know of people who have gotten to where you’re trying to go? If you don’t, maybe you should look into other routes (or clear a trail if it’s something new). If you do, maybe you just need to be more patient. That said, if you want to sit this one out, go for it. But be honest with yourself. What are you trying to get away from? For me, I wanted to forget about my shortcomings. About my lack of results. I wanted to escape. But I couldn’t. It followed me along all day.

Ultimately, you and I have the same options: keep going or quit. I don’t want to quit. And you likely don’t either. I took yesterday off because I thought I needed a break. So I stuffed my face with sweets and cartoons. That’s not what I really desired though. What I wanted was a win. And when I didn’t get one, I manufactured one. Fulfillment is up and down. It is a mountain range. But if you can see a path before you, and you know others have succeeded on that same path, there’s no use sitting around. Get up, dust yourself off, and resume the climb.

See you at the top.

PS: Let me show you how to achieve your goals.