Restless, Irritable, Discontent
These are the three best words to describe how I’ve been feeling lately. It has been quite some time since I’ve sat down and put pen to paper. And I keep using these three words as my excuse as to why the world doesn’t need to hear from me right now. Who wants to hear from someone who’s not 100% on top of the world right now? On their A game? Kicking ass and taking names?
Ironically, I do.
As I was recently making my way back to some limited social media time, I found myself drawn to posts about people who were struggling a little; people who were feeling off and couldn’t quite put their finger on why. The realness of their pain drew me in like a tractor beam. It allowed me to get out of my own head and feel like I wasn’t alone, even for just a few minutes.
But on the other side of the coin, I found myself completely repelled by the Rah-Rah posts about “look at me – look how successful I am – look how easy it is to transform your life into living like me – if you do these 746 simple steps you can have a life as great as mine”. I find lots of stuff like that this time of year in the world of social media. No thank you!
The last thing I find appealing right now is adding a whole bunch of new stuff to my plate so my life can look like your life. In fact, less on my plate would feel so much better right now.
That’s it. That’s what’s got me in this funk. Today is the first day I have felt like I have had the room to breathe and sit and write in a very long time.
What the heck happened?
I used to find hours and hours each week to just sit and reflect, and write. Two published books, dozens of white papers and blog posts, countless thoughts written and posted on social media. And just like that, my writing stopped.
Hold on a second. I’m the self-proclaimed “Say No More” guru and I can’t find an hour to sit down and write?
I’ve been walking around feeling this persistent state of restlessness, irritability and discontentment. How can this be possible? On the outside my life is great today. Sure, the last few years have been challenging. Death of loved ones. Uncertainty in some of my closest relationships. Global pandemics. War. Economic instability. Inflation.
But today my family is healthy, my business is thriving, I have a roof over my head and a warm bed I sleep in every night. I have clean water to drink every day. I have amazing people in my life.
I’m the guy who devoted an entire chapter in my book, Financial Sobriety, to the very concept of less is more; that the secret to peace, love and contentment was an inside job contingent upon having gratitude for what you have and also having a very healthy relationship with the word NO.
I guess I am human after all. I have allowed myself to get caught up in the circumstances of my life (and your life!); the changes taking place around me, the people who have come and gone, the behaviors and choices of others around me that feel almost impossible to accept. The global human stage and all of its idiotic actors. I have allowed the uncertainties, circumstances and outcomes that land way outside my hula hoop to take massive chunks of my confidence away. I have found myself starting to once again feel a little less than.
Sitting down and opening up to you about this today has allowed me to see what’s actually been going on. I wish I would’ve had the courage to do this a few months ago. But as Jim always reminds me “if the best time to plant a tree was 6 months ago, the next best time is now”.
Self-awareness moment of the year: I have reattached myself to what my dearly departed friend Vinnie Anicich would call the Nunya Trifecta – people, circumstances and outcomes – 3 big things that fall outside my hula hoop and I have absolutely no control over. As Vinnie used to say to me, usually when I would call him to complain about someone or something, “Matthew, that falls under the category of nunya … none of your damn business! If you have no control over it, you have to let it go or it will kill you!”
I’m so grateful for the wisdom in that simple concept.
Just as it feels like everything is falling apart, things might actually be falling into place. I have gotten so caught up in the narrative that is my life, I have been unable to see the big picture. Or as the old saying goes, I have not been able to see the forest through the trees.
Thank you for being so generous. By being here with me today as I write this and share this with you, you hold a sacred space for me to work this all out and get back to being a part of what we’re building together, a big beautiful community of empathetic people living with intention. That feels so much better than suffering from the pain that’s all around me. I realize pain is inevitable. But I also know that suffering is optional.
I’m grateful for the tools we have here at Financial Sobriety and Gebhardt Group; tools we created for you to handle exactly what I am faced with today – too much noise in my own head, driven by too much attachment to what’s going on around me that’s outside my control.
What do I have control over?
I can wake up in the morning and thank God for giving me another day.
I can make my wife a cup of coffee and shower her with kisses first thing in the morning because I know how much small things like that mean to her.
I can choose what I put in my body each day.
I can get out for a 30-60 minute walk every day.
I can continue going to yoga class at night (by saying NO to the evening news, endless scrolling through deals on Amazon, or binging some random Netflix series).
I can start and end my day by sharing with my tribe what I’m grateful for today.
I can continue to surround myself with people who accept me for exactly who I am without the desire to change me one bit.
I can follow our simple 5 to Thrive Principles:
- Show up on time and prepared
- Do what I say
- Finish what I start
- Say please, thank you, and you’re welcome
- And when I make a mistake, own it and fix it.
I can get back to saying NO to the people, places and things that do not bring me great amounts of fulfillment and joy – which creates all the space I need to do the things I love – like writing and all of those joyful daily activities just mentioned.
I’m the guy whose natural instinct is to say YES because I want you to like me. But trying to influence the entire world into liking and doing what is pleasing to me has left me feeling completely irritable, restless and discontent. Again.
Sometimes we all need moments of clarity like the one I am having in real time with you today. Getting back to what this journey of Financial Sobriety has been all about – that happiness, peace and contentment is an inside job – it is no one else’s responsibility but mine. And the best way to get out of my head is through someone else’s heart.
Hopefully if you have been stuck in your own head, or feeling anything like the way I’ve been feeling, this has given you a chance to jump inside my heart a little bit. I know this has helped me. I sure do hope it’s helped you.
Hopefully this is the start of much more writing to come, especially in the world of money and relationships – my very favorite world to write about.
Today we get unstuck by making a renewed start with that very complex and sometimes prickly relationship we all have – with ourselves!