What I “must” do…

Recently, I wrote a half-assed post about what happens when you change your internal dialogue from a list of “shoulds” to a list of “musts”. I got sidetracked at some point and really didn’t finish the thought. How often do you read this blog and wonder – why did he stop there? Is that all he has to say?

Well, no, it usually isn’t all I’ve got to say. I’m either consciously or unconsciously holding back. Should is a future conditional, whereas Must is an imperative. The word “should” implies that something is optional, the word “must” does not.

One of my friends asked the all important question, “what must you do?” in the comments to that post. Rather than answer that question in the comments, I decided to write another post about what I must do and why.

I must lose weight. I’m approximately 30 to 50 pounds overweight. That’s obese by medical definitions. I don’t feel obese, but I am. I must lose the weight or there will be consequences in the future. Sure I can live like this for a while, maybe another 20 or 30 years, but then the weight is going to catch up to me.

I must exercise. Not only is this important because exercise will help with the weight loss issue, but it also elevates my mood. It’s the end of August and I can already tell that the changes in the amount of daylight that we receive here in the Northern Hemisphere are starting to take their toll. Even with just an hour shaved off the daylight at the end of the day I feel the effects of the darkness creeping in. Exercise will help with this.

I must spend more quality time with the people who mean the most to me. This includes my family and my friends. I easily get sidetracked and find myself facing weeks where I’ve not talked with friends or family. Of course I see my wife and son every day, but there are certainly days when I’m disconnected from them even though we may be in the same room.

I must address my relationship with alcohol. I love beer. Truly, love it. This is not a simple love affair with golden ale in a can, this is a love affair that pairs with my love affair of food. There are so many varieties of beer that I find it difficult to choose when I go to the store. I’ve probably had beer from almost every country in the world.

But the love affair is one-sided. Beer does not love me. It packs on the pounds. It clouds my thinking. It alters my behavior in ways that are unpredictable. And, of course, it leaves me feeling pretty rotten in the morning. I’m just learning how to be honest with myself about this and certainly haven’t rationalized whether or not I need to completely quit drinking forever, but it’s an option that I haven’t ruled out. What I do know for sure is that getting hammered isn’t fun anymore.

I must find a way to free myself of the chains of corporate america. This correlates with the fact that I must learn to be happier with less. I’ve been spending some time reading about “minimalism”. I’m not ready to throw out all my worldly possessions, wrap myself in a loin cloth, and go live in a cave on the side of a mountain — But I know in my heart that things don’t make me happy. People and fulfilling work do.

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