When there’s always tomorrow, you don’t have to change today. You don’t have to accept that you need to change today if you have any hope of tomorrow as an inevitability. Which is an absurd way to think about the impossible. Yet that’s precisely what tomorrow is: impossible. It’s not real. It will never be real. So why do I conceive it as my right?
I’ve written quite a bit about what might be happening in my gut, but not so much about the little deals I make with myself every day in order to cope with the issue. Because I still haven’t internalized it as an urgent concern, I’m taking baby steps in adjusting my lifestyle. In other words, I haven’t fully committed to the changes that would actually help me address the problem. I’ve done well in spurts, but I also concede a lot. And most of my concessions are born of a strange optimism about my future. I’m confident that I’ll take care of everything before it’s too late. I’m confident that tomorrow will save me.
As I’m typing this, at nearly 6:30pm, I’m having a cup of coffee with a “splash” (it was a legit pour) of milk in, along with cinnamon and stevia. I can’t have coffee or milk if I want to heal, but I’ve chosen to interpret can’t as shouldn’t, a far more forgiving term. If I say to myself I shouldn’t have something, it gives me a way of justifying my behavior when I do. If it’s an ought and not a necessity, I can never fail myself. Sure, I can do better, but it’s not like I’ve done anything wrong. Not besides telling myself and accepting gross lies. (Ah, the beauty of doublethink…)
This can’t/shouldn’t dynamic pervades my current diet. I mostly do what I need to, i.e. eat vegetables and organic protein sources, avoid pretty much all sugar and starch (aka carbs), alcohol, caffeine, etc. But the key there is that I mostly do what I need to, which is not an acceptable path toward real recovery. My body is obviously in need of an enduring rehabilitation period, and I’ve yet to take that seriously. Maybe I think I’m invulnerable, that real sickness is something, like death, that happens to other people. You know, those people over there. Not me. Never me. At least not tomorrow, which is sure to save me.
Because when I reflect on my health, I’ve had it pretty damn good. I was a hardcore (and for an extended period, dangerously obsessive) athlete who couldn’t have done what he did with anything wrong with his body. I keep pretending I’m still that Lou, the one who could easily do two HIIT workouts in a day, not the one who gets tired from walking and whose feet don’t feel…quite right.
The future remains present to shield me from its cruel illusion. I will get better tomorrow. Translation: I don’t have to worry about getting better right now. I don’t have to do anything to help myself. Help is an imminent arrival, not a necessary current reality.
And so I settle back into my self-betraying habits, confident that I’ll change when I need to, happy to forget that I already had to.