I can’t get no . . .

. . . Satisfaction . . .

I can’t get none, literally. (or figuratively?) I’ll leave it to you to tell me which.

I just wrestle it but never truly savor it or settle upon it.

A few months back, after I ran the marathon (which I need to stop talking about because its been over six months ago already), and started the post run chipping away at how I could have done better, someone made a basic point: I did something, really did something. I trained for four months. Me, the unatheletic kid who quit track after one year. I ran 26.2 miles. I should be happy. I should be satisfied. I need to quit being so hard on myself over everything.

I tried to savor the run. I bragged about running it on stress fractures, and enjoyed the attention of my friends for doing it for about 5 minutes. Then the gears started turning again. How could I avoid re-injury? How could I do faster and better next time? If I would have done x, y, or z I would have finished faster.

Running the race is a model for my thinking: Always the next time. Always slightly disappointed with what I did five minutes ago.

Perhaps this is why I am so horrible at doing new things at first, so afraid of making a mistake, so afraid of asking for help, because I judge myself so harshly in rapid succession.

Then I sound like an asshole when I say, “Well, I only ran at an xxx pace” to someone who might not be at that level yet, or a sniveling twerp to others who run faster. I can never just be satisfied with anything. Ever.

So, recently, and I can’t remember why any longer, I started wondering, “Will I ever be satisfied?” What happens when the day comes (has it already) that I can’t run any further or faster, that no job promotions are available, that I’ve fallen into the best relationship of my life that should last for ever? What about those things?

And I couldn’t answer. I still can’t, because I do not know how to not measure mistakes, to not judge myself in the harshest way and instead savor small victories or my own behavior in certain situations.

It is kind of maddening, but at the same time has driven me to do some pretty positive things – quit smoking, lose 35 pounds, run that marathon, take that trip before I die, manage a retail store, apply for a new position, move away from where I am from, and then move back. All had some level of failure and success.

And then I wonder, am I really that unique with this problem? Probably not. I hope not.

The older I become and the more I think about this the more I wonder, can I be satisfied with being dissatisfied? Can I perpetually be okay with striving for something else?

Would life be boring if I stopped?


One thought on “I can’t get no . . .

  1. I work on enjoying what aspects of life are above-par first and foremost. After all, we only should worry about those things we can control and can effect satisfaction. Contrary to all the “happy talk” books and speakers, while they have it right we should enjoy life…we have to recognize there are some parts of our lives that are never, ever going to be as we like it..those parts we have no control over. We can’t control everything in life. We can control our reaction to life and what we choose to focus upon. I am satisfied with being dissatisfied in what I can’t control. I will admittedly work towards trying to “correct” things within my control I would like to make more satisfying. Life would be boring if I stopped striving to improve upon…what I can actually, realistically improve.

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