“November 1: I think I need to take it easier on myself.”

My tickler is full of reminders I give myself on red-letter holidays; reminders I don’t usually follow because I either forget, or I don’t follow my own advice.  On my birthday, I reminded myself to quit smoking.  Valentine’s Day, I reminded myself to take it easy on the drink.  A friend had to lay it on me on this red-letter day: I take too much joy in self-mortification.  It seems that I’m at my best when I’m depressed.  Although it’s what she said afterward that really hit hard: what would I become at my worst?

It’s the first of November, and everywhere I see changes, mostly from my friends who are more than willing and able to change their lives for the better.  A friend underwent surgery to lose weight.  An acquaintance voluntarily entered a rehab program.  Still another friend gave up her career to pursue her dreams of becoming a doctor.  Oh sure, I’ve gone through many changes, but I still can’t stand to look at that face in the mirror.

Life has to mean more than the slow – if not sudden – progression towards death.  I’m only 24 years old, but I put myself into perspective.  I could very well be breathing with one lung.  Maybe I’m metabolizing with one dysfunctional lobe of my liver.  Maybe my eyes and nerves degenerating faster than what the doctors surmised; no thanks to every vice and addiction deemed acceptable by society.  Maybe I am taking it too hard on myself at times.  All the time.

That would have been okay, if only I highlight and underscore reasons to live life to the fullest, more than I do reasons to live it at its barest minimum.  Life doesn’t stop short of reasons – and people who bear those reasons – for me to look forward to the next day.

In time, I think I’ll be able to give up a lot of the things that drag me down, pull myself back together, and set my life back into the straight and narrow.  It’s a good thing I gave myself room to make as clean a slate as possible, where I can put my life back into order and make something of it.  Maybe there’s an avenue where I can really try my very best at.

It’s November 1, where we usually remember the dead.  I guess for now, I have to remember living.