The 365 Commitment

Day – 23 Growing Myself Up

Day 21 – Growing Myself Up

An interesting observation at day 29 of my renewed 365 Commitment.  I’m enjoying the mild satisfaction of small incremental improvement that results from daily habit.  My 20 pull-ups this morning were no more difficult than the 19 I did three days ago.  Maybe even easier, as I finished stronger.  Maybe it was the better night sleep I had, or simply the adaptation of muscle to regular demands.

I’ve typically made progress with great bursts of teeth gritting effort.  But, I must say, there is something about allowing time to be on your side, so to speak.  Harnessing the low effort reward of daily habit is almost a novel sensation for me.  Not unknown, just – it’s been a long time since I have really embraced discipline, a distant memory.

I think the last time I enjoyed this feeling was in 86’, I was 19 and had returned from a long motorcycle trip looping around the western US.  I’d left three weeks earlier and given my roommate, an older construction dude I had worked with, $400 bucks cash with the agreement that he’d add his share and pay the overdue bills while I was gone.  When I got home I knew something was wrong.  The power was off, and the place was trashed.  He’d stolen my money, allowed the bills to lapse, and I was screwed. This circumstance, along with some others I won’t mention, stirred a deep resolve within me. I felt embarrassed, angry, and ashamed at being robbed by someone I had foolishly trusted.

I realized that I was at fault for letting it happen to me.  I took responsibility for everything in my life.  No more roommates, I would just work harder. I dropped all my bad habits and lived a monk like existence, working hard at my roofing job, showing up early and staying late.

I cleaned my apartment until it was immaculate.  I used candles for light until I could get the power restored.  I took care of everything in my life as a sacred duty. I focused on the spiritual.  I accepted my poverty. I made a deal with the landlord to give me time.  I had no credit, so my only option was to slowly dig out of my financial hole over 4-6 months.  I used the pay phone down at the market to make calls until I could afford to get the phone service turned back on.  Cleaning was easy because I left no messes and put no chore off.  My boss at the roofing company noticed and gave me a raise and more responsibility. After a while I had money in the bank. In those days you actually had to go to the bank on Friday and cash your paycheck.  Point is, I found a real sense of joy in my new lifestyle, and found that I had so much more time because I was on top of everything.  There was a feeling of quiet accomplishment in slowly, incrementally, digging out of a tough situation with discipline and resolve, and humility.  I guess I grew myself up a little during that time.

The way I feel today, after 29 days of dedication to my 365 Commitment is reminiscent of that long ago experience; that embrace of habit, discipline, and quiet resolve.  The load of responsibility I carry now is unimaginable to my former 19 year old self.  But, the increasing strength and solidness of ground feels much the same; a feeling that discipline and good physical mental and spiritual habit provides.  Maybe I’m growing myself up a bit, again.  I want more of this feeling.


Ben Wagner (29)

Member 365 Commitment

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Kayann McPeak
Kayann McPeak
5 years ago

Ben, I love this piece as well as your writing style – you always come across in a humble manner. Like the pay phone of old, it seems like learning discipline and self reliance has gone by the wayside for young people these days. Probably because we live in this micro-wave generation, they have grown to expect instant gratification… and we, as parents, have fallen into the same trap. Many of the teens, at least in Southern California, turn 16 and find their parents have gifted them with a car. No more working for it, or saving for it – just expecting it. My 13 year old granddaughter announced, on her birthday a couple weeks ago, that she wanted a Porsche when she was able to drive.

Guy Reams
5 years ago
Reply to  Kayann McPeak

A porsche? you got off easy! Agree – I am doing what I can to have my kids NOT be that way – but it is hard!

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