A Sense of Melancholy I Can’t Shake Off

Taiwan pipes

If you’ve been following my posts you’ll know I’ve started a new job teaching English in Taiwan. If you haven’t been following my posts I’ll very briefly fill you in: I’ve been teaching English in Taiwan for about 2 months, I started my job very soon after arriving in the country, now I’m a bit bored and feeling a bit down.

I’m still working on self development, and you should take a look at my self development page to see a ton of posts answering questions like how to deal with regret, how to make hard decisions and why boredom can be a good thing. I think they’ll really help you.

I’m helping myself, but we’re all only human and we can’t be proactive all the time.

Stupid dumb ass life questions

I’ve started writing in a diary again, and usually I tend to do that when I start feeling like crap. This time I don’t feel like crap, I’d say I feel melancholy. Writing helps, and it’s only for me to read, but it doesn’t necessarily make me feel better.

Ever since I started thinking about my life and my attitude towards it, I’ve found that sometimes I can over think, or maybe even get confused at what to think.

I remember back when I was at university and life seemed great, and I was confident and funny, and told jokes and made fun of myself. Sometimes I miss that about myself, I now lament the fact that nearly everything I think or do I need to know why, or make sense of it. In other words I take life way too seriously.

Taiwan flags

If you change nothing, nothing will change

I have spoken about this before, the idea being (and it’s pretty obvious) that if you don’t make an effort to change something, it’ll just stay the same.

I feel like I’ve been making a big effort to change so many things in my life. The proof of that is I’m now in Taiwan teaching English, I know mentally I think about things in a different perspective. I feel I’m more honest and kinder to people and myself, but there’s still a big hurdle I can’t seem to change: making real change.

I don’t want to change the world, just myself

When I say “real change” I mean that within myself. I don’t have any grand ideas of trying to end world hunger, or eliminate racism, but I do want to change myself.

Some things I dislike about myself are: my ability to heavily procrastinate. My slipping into old ways of thinking, despite knowing better. My fixation with relationships and women, and the way my mind races when relationships end. My inability to fully practise what I preach, however most of all it’s the fact I know what to do to address all this, I just don’t do it, hence the heavy procrastination.

I know what to do, so why don’t I just do it?

A thing which has annoyed me about other peoples behaviours are when they whinge about their life, but do nothing to change it. Or people who say ‘I wish I had this’, or ‘I wish I had that’, but they don’t do anything to get what they want.

Now I’m not saying everyone needs to change their life, and be 100% super proactive when trying to make change. But if you do zero, then please do not whinge to me.

That’s the major thing eating at me: I know what to do I just don’t do it

Taoyuan bridge

Is change really that scary?

I think the biggest thing I fear is what the change will bring. I already know I have changed a lot, but I think I’m still heavily in a state of transition.

Bits of the old Dan have left or have morphed into something new, bits of the new Dan are forming, and right now I’m trying to make sense of it all.

Perhaps my expectations are too high, everyone has issues with their life, so why am I trying to address every issue? And why am I not addressing some at all?

Is it that I’m trying to be a super human with all their stuff figured out? Is it that I’m trying to fix or change things that everyone else just accepts as “part of them”?

The issue with accepting is that I don’t think you need to settle, you shouldn’t just accept that “that’s just a part of me”, not if you want to change it.

Who I’d like to be is…

Who I’d like to be is a person who isn’t afraid of being stared at or making a mistake, a person who doesn’t procrastinate, a person who wants to make change in their life and actually does it.

All of this is possible, but what I often find with things like this is it’s a combination of motivation, excitement, dedication and effort that make it possible. I think if one of these things is missing it makes it a lot more difficult to achieve what you want.

It’s almost like I want to come up with some kind of formula or ethos, or action plan to make change work. Some people have the three second rule, whereby if you make a decision you have three seconds to get up and do it, otherwise you won’t. Others have a reward system, whereby you have a set of tasks you need to complete, then when you have you can reward yourself with something. I sort of have a hybrid of these, when I choose to follow them.

Low will power

The issue for me with the above ways is that I often think “why am I giving myself all these rules?”. My whole life I’ve lived in a way of ‘do what makes you feel good’ and ultimately that didn’t work out so well, as it’s lead me to where I am now. So if I continue with that way of thinking, then nothing will change.

Taoyuan river

Back to the beginning of the cycle

This takes me back to what I said at the beginning: if you change nothing, then nothing will change.

What did I expect would happen if I kept the same mental philosophy about things? Nothing will change. What will happen if I keep the same level of procrastination? Nothing will change. What will happen if I keep going about my life as I have been? Nothing will change.

I have already experienced what change can bring

I’m a big believer in experiencing something to solidify it for you. As the old wise saying goes: you can read a book about rocket science, but that doesn’t make you a rocket scientist. You’re only a rocket scientist once you’ve started working on one.

The same goes with anything in life, all this talk about feeling good and change and whatever else: It will only feel real once you’ve experienced it.

The crazy thing is I have experienced it! I know what it feels like! I know that I always feel better after I’ve achieved something, even if it’s the smallest task. I know I feel better and more refreshed when I do go out to that social gathering, even though it was easier to stay at home.

I know the feeling, and it’s great! It makes you feel alive in every sense of the word. Your world feels so much more focused, it feels like your mind has had a three week vacation, you feel excited!

so why the bloody hell don’t i just do it then?

Maybe it is as simple as that: stop analysing and thinking, and just do it, literally just stand up and do it. I already know it works. I already know I feel better after.

Perhaps this is the ideal experiment to try on myself and see what happens, because I do want real change.

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