Best Wetz Day 8: Forgive Me

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I woke up at 7:55am

 

today, promptly turned off the alarm, and went back to sleep. Practicing forgiveness is what I’m all about today. Forgiving myself. Taking it easy. When I don’t meet a goal to not throw everything to the wayside, but instead to just pick up where I left off and keep plowing ahead.

(Though this image of plowing ahead, of constantly striving, worries me a bit. Most people are capable of understanding two types of people, or only allow that two types of people exist in the world: those who strive to make things better, and those who don’t give a shit, or who are content to live “small” lives, or who never dare to go for anything bigger. One fallacy in this thinking is believing that he who strives is better off than he who doesn’t. But the real fallacy lies in the (mis)understanding of these people who are not striving. Maybe some of them have figured out how to get out of the “rat race,” how to live quiet, minimalist lives, and are immensely more fulfilled than the man looking for the nicer car, the nicer house, the cooler shoes, the more Slavic-looking girlfriend.

There is a third type of person, I just know it.)

I didn’t wake up early this morning. But I will from now on. Or maybe I’ll miss a day, but instead of saying, “Oh no, my 100 day plan for betterment is screwed now,” I’ll just pick up where I left off and forget it even happened. I still haven’t drunk alcohol. I still haven’t smoked cigs. I still haven’t gone on Facebook. And everyday, despite the fact that I have leather boots, I sprint for a short period of time, and it’s exhilarating. The Best Wetz plan is still in full swing, even if my life doesn’t feel much different.

When I think back on my life a month ago, surfing the beaches in Chile and driving around in Wendy, I despair. Two months ago, in Monteverde with a wonderful person, feeling immeasurably happy, eating long, drawn-out breakfasts, going for walks, climbing up the hollow trunk of a ficus tree. Three months ago, on a beach somewhere in Mexico, in Michoacan or Colima, paddling toward the horizon of the big blue ocean by myself! Catching a wave, everything a mess of sunshine and foam and blue, the heat, the happiness.

And now I’m in Hamburg, and it’s dark and cold and it all feels a bit masochistic. And I’m turning into a broken record. Things suck here. But I’m going to stick it out (though of course I always say that). Because I feel like I need to. Because I’ve never stuck anything out. My whole life has been a dream. That time in Mexico was a dream. That time in Costa Rica with that girl was a dream.

Except, of course, it wasn’t a dream, and it’s all still right there.

But I have to merge that dreamworld with reality, that’s why I’m still in Hamburg. That’s why I don’t just fly to Costa Rica right now, even though I very well could. It’s not masochism per se, it’s more, well, I’m figuring out what it is. You know how I always talk about following your path, knowing what your path is and just trusting? Well, I’m still on my path. It’s just a weird path. German is an ugly language. Hamburg is depressing. But I’m still 100% convinced (see: 35% convinced) that I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be, doing what I’m supposed to be doing, and that all is well in the world.

Best Wetz Day 7: Drinking Tea

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A blurry, self-indulgent photo of myself drinking tea. Or, of “me drinking tea.” Are both correct?

OK,

so the title of this post is a little misleading. I’m not giving up tea. Tea is pretty much the only thing I can drink now, since today I’ve eliminated soda and other sugary drinks. Juice is still OK. I know juice has a lot of sugar and waaaa waaaa waaa waaa – and by juice I mean real juice, I’m definitely not going to drink the stuff that’s partially juice like Tampico and all that crap-

That sentence was getting too long.

Ahem (*clears throat, breathes in deeply).

I’m still in Hamburg. I’m sick of running. I’ve been running for the past ten years of my life. Maybe all my life. Maybe even in past lives. At first I was bouncing between random hotels in the center, but now I’m in a beautiful Air Bnb in the suburbs and everything’s ideal. I have my own room. I have my own bathroom. I even have my own kitchen, where I just made ravioli lightly drizzled with olive oil, followed by an herbal chai tea with no black tea in it. What kind of demented company manufactures chai tea with no black tea in it? I asked myself this question. I realized I was bored. That I am bored.

It’s so nice to be bored.

I’m also sort of employed now. But mostly not. More to come on that later.

My friend asked me today, “What are
you going to do when you run out of things to give up.”

Ahhhh, yes, what a wonderful question. Because you see, I realize that giving things up is not going to “fix” me. There’s nothing to fix. Everything is ok. But that doesn’t mean I can’t get better. And I realize that not drinking Coca Cola, that having a perfect diet, that exercising, that staying off Facebook, isn’t going to magically make my life better, but I also have the firm conviction that it might, that stripping away all the bullshit, all the distractions, for once in my life, might allow me to discover the person who’s been underneath there all along. The six year old Mark. The six year old Mark who stood on a sand dune somewhere in California, looking deep in thought/ mildly confused. That’s the boy I’m looking for. That’s the boy I’m trying to rediscover.

And I know I could do it anywhere. Hamburg, Addis Ababa, North Platte, Nebraska, the place doesn’t really matter. It’s not the place. It’s something inside me. And I’m going to find it. Mark my words, I’m going to find it.

 

 

 

Best Wetz Day 6: Rauchen ist tödlich

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German inauguration coverage. Bummer.

Smoking Kills.

I’m in my hotel room in Hamburg trying to get coverage of the inauguration, but it’s all in German. On the one hand this is good because it makes me “practice” (see: tune out), but on the other hand it’s just really annoying. How does this hotel not have CNN?

I “quit” smoking once again yesterday.  I’m going through a process of eliminating all the bad things so I can start building up the good things. It’s easy to eliminate the bad, that’s why I’m starting there. It’s easy to stop drinking. It’s easy to stop smoking. It’s easy to delete Facebook. However, once all the bad has been deleted the real work begins. Exhaustively looking for and applying to jobs.  Taking some kind of a course. Working more. Possibly volunteering. Maybe I’ll finally learn how to dance salsa, despite the fact that I think it’s stupid and have no desire to learn it.  But growth is about doing things you don’t want to. Want to be happy in this life? Just exclusively do things you don’t want to.  You’ll be a barrel of sunshine.

I took a walk this evening. Hamburg is beautiful. Is it beautiful? It might be beautiful.  It was nice to get out of the little shell of misery I’ve retreated into the last few days. I realized that happiness is a choice, that everything is a choice. I walked past the American consulate, where a guy was standing in the lawn with some kind of machine gun. “Hey bro, hook me up with a job!” I wanted to yell. But he’s probably not supposed to talk with passersby. He’s supposed to stand there and look serious.

Tomorrow I will teach Javier, my one English student, and then maybe do some captions for my new captioning job. Don’t get too excited. The pay is horrible. But I’m working. I’m a working man.

But not a smoking man.

Best Wetz Day 5: Ciao, alcohol

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No more bleak landscapes now that I’m off the booze.

I don’t drink anymore.

So, my life has actually gotten significantly worse since I started this Best Wetz program. For example, I’m in Hamburg right now. Why the fuck am I in Hamburg? Question of the day.

Today I went looking for a German course so I can drown my personal problems in overpriced education. I went to a school called Deutsch Akadamie where I was instantly given a placement test. There’s nothing like taking a placement test in a language you barely speak.  You go into it thinking, Man, I’m actually gonna do kind of good on this thing. You look at the dude next to you in the testing room. Guy looks like an idiot, you think. And then you start your test and realize you know absolutely nothing.  “But I’ve been doing Duolingo everyday!” you say to the language gods, who up above you in the heavens are lounging on the clouds and having a conversation mostly in Sanskrit with bits of Middle English thrown in “for fun.”

Upon finishing the test I was told by “Anna” I was somewhere in between the  A1.2 and A2.1 levels (A1.1 is the lowest). I threw up my hands in elation.

“So you’re telling me there’s a chance?” I said.

Then came the spoken part of the test. She asked me things like “Why are you in Hamburg,” to which I have no good answer in any language. She pointed to a picture of a boy’s face and told me to identify the various parts. Here Duolingo did come in handy. Also, being a native English speaker came in handy because the words are similar, or, in the case of some of the body parts, exactly the same. Finally she concluded that I was ready for the A2.1 class. “Thank you, Ana.” I said.  “May God bless you and keep you.”

Also, I quit alcohol today.  Alcohol makes me behave like a jackass.  If there’s one thing the world doesn’t need more of, it’s jackasses.

Anyway.

I did have two Weizenbiers last night and sat grinning by myself at a Vietnamese restaurant.

Ninety-five days without alcohol! What will it be like? Will I start doing drugs? Except that doesn’t really fit in with the whole “betterment” scheme. If I trade alcohol for say, amphetamines, I’ll probably be really upbeat and walk a lot faster and possibly start wearing track pants, but my overall condition will deteriorate.

So no drugs.

After the language school adventure I changed hotels to a guesthouse in Harburg, a suburb south of Hamburg. I spent the whole S-Bahn ride shivering from the withdrawals caused by my two Weizenbiers last night. It’s getting extremely annoying to travel with my surfboard and three backpacks. The situation must be rectified. The question is: Throw it all in the garbage? That solution is extreme but also strangely appealing. I’m traveling with so much needless stuff. I threw four notebooks in the trash the other day, because they were too heavy. I thought, Some day those are going to be worth a lot. I thought, Maybe I should keep them. I thought, Everything I’ve written in there is so shitty.

But anyway, alcohol.