Constructive Spring: Let This Be My Reminder

Constructive Spring: Let This Be My Reminder
Going, Going, Gone Kevin Chu kwchu@ucsd.edu
Going, Going, Gone
Kevin Chu
[email protected]

Until Sunday, Feb. 23, 2014, I had a daily task on my phone that simply read: “Eat fruit.”

It was a reminder of self-care that I had set a year earlier, when my physical results returned with suggestions to be healthier. I knew that a complete overhaul of my diet was impractical and next to impossible because of my habit of binge-eating anything I was handed. However, thanks to years of skimming self-help think pieces, I also knew that small, incremental additions, implemented patiently over the course of the year, would lead to lifetime benefits.

So I bought fruit to fill my fridge, bought cross-trainers so I could supplement my #yoked gym trips with runs and began choosing chicken over red meat. I could see and feel my health improving, and slowly, I began to gain (gasp!) self-esteem.

Now it’s April and I have a bowl of slowly rotting oranges sitting in my apartment. They’re from my mom — I have not bought more than one piece of fruit at a time since October. Today marks around seven months since I last wore my cross trainers, but they still smell like I sweated in them just yesterday.

The bowl and the shoes today are little more than decrepit, space-wasting reminders of the promises I couldn’t keep, even to myself. And there are more than a few reminders of past failures: The half-filled planners that I used because I wanted to be more organized. The untouched books that I bought to make myself read more. The notebook that I earnestly wrote “Write Every Single Day” on the cover this December that hasn’t had a pen pressed against its pages in weeks. It’s not even that I consciously gave up on these plans. Life just happened.

It was more than a little heart-wrenching to find these things, because they represented a better me that never came, a me that was never maintained, but the physical heart discomfort I felt was also probably the result of poor health habits. Even with reminders and routines in place, I had managed to fuck it up.

It doesn’t help that I keep high expectations for everything that I do, leaving me always crushed when anything, especially my goals, do not work out in my favor. But I tend to forget about the self-promises kept. I still try to order chicken over red meat when I can. I perform stand-up comedy more often. I finished a pretty gnarly crossword puzzle last week. My accomplishments match, if not exceed, my failures; there is even proof that I continue to keep my promises.

Change is hard to make, or even see the results of, especially when the evidence of what went wrong is much more prominent. But it’s important to want to keep improving, to prove to everyone, yourself included, that you do want to make yourself happy. A friend once told me that it’s important to be a little selfish, because if you aren’t, you’ll never want anything for yourself and you’ll never improve.

So this spring, I’m setting a goal to set goals. They’ll be simple as usual: Apply for jobs, graduate on time, eat fruit, look for apartments in L.A., find true love, cure cancer, etc. But I’ll keep in the back of my mind that setting goals is good for me and that I shouldn’t be too hard on myself if it doesn’t work out.

But I should probably throw those rotting oranges away. They are getting pretty dank.

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