Can there be bliss without the pain?
I like a little torture in my life.
I am not talking about that military grade, severe, “You’re gonna tell me what I want to know,” or “oops there goes your fingernails nonsense.”
In different aspects of my life I just need a little “hot wax here, bank on a Friday at noon, roll the dice come on eleven, my boy needs a new pair of shoes and this is my last $50,”-type enhancement in order to stimulate myself.
Quite frankly, I would be bored without it.
I like the rub, the grind, the night, the deep darkness exploding into light. I haven’t done the whole balanced living thing since my balls dropped at age 23, as it scares me. I enjoy the highs and lows of a quality adventure.
What if you could have it all — everything you desire? Is it possible to feel the bliss without a little bit of pain? Some of that good, deep down in your bones, soul aching pain?
In my strength workouts this week (especially on Monday after my birthday wine-and-cigarette blow out) I called Guru Mike a fucking asshole on several occasions.
He calmly responded, “Elderly women have called me worse,” and told me to do another Burpee.
It was what I needed on a Monday, when I was dragging ass, to get me back on track.
“Did you smoke cigarettes, Corey?”
“I am not going to lie, Mike. I got a little carried away on Friday night.”
Having to be honest with someone you respect can be the best form of torture.
Burpee. Burpee. Burpee. It isn’t torture, when you have asked for it.
The truth is, I know when the switch is about to come on inside of me— when the “Fuck it, let’s do it” mentality is going to win over. It can be a good thing, put to good use, but I am still working on that formula.
“All you can do is move on and learn from it Corey,” Mike says. He’s right, of course, but how many times will I get held back in the 12th grade?
Monday: I made it through my workout. I didn’t quit. I didn’t give it my all. I survived it. It was disappointing. It hurt physically, but more mentally when I knew I defeated myself. Never again, I promised. Never again!
Tuesday: Tuesday was great. I attacked it with gusto. I attribute that to my mental work and to meeting with Jackie and Mike prior to my workout because I get to talk about things. Remember, I like to talk, and this is all about me. I realized after a bit of work and introspection that not caring what other people think about you and embracing what makes you unique is completely different than being an idiot trying to not give a shit.
I also developed my mantra for the week: “Speak the Truth, No Excuses.” I repeat it over and over in my head now. It works because I’m smart enough to realize that no matter how hard I try, I can’t fool myself.
Wednesday: At Surfset Training I was full of energy. There was also a male surf instructor and an attractive young masseuse participating, and I fancied myself a little healthy competition and Winky Winky’s.
Thursday and Friday: I jammed to music and added extra sets and exercises to my freestyle workout.
I finished Friday by taking in some sunshine, while running on the beach.
I hate running, I don’t even really like the beach. Together they felt….right.
I was a damn Indy Pop song in the flesh. Imagine Dragon’s.
Ok, then what?
I got a $50 haircut from my gay stylist in the boonies that I couldn’t afford. What can I say? I like gay hairstylists. They make me feel special.
Afterward, I rode my hog back to civilization to meet with two directors from NYC at Noguis. I couldn’t tell if they were both just being sweet and polite and think I am insane for pursuing my acting career, or if they actually think I have a chance. I felt like I belonged at the table though, and I approached it with confidence.
Just eight months ago, I would have shit myself.
Maybe, just maybe, I am the captain of my own ship.
Speaking of ships, the temptation call comes in on Friday night.
Discounted price for locals booze cruise on the Pirate Ship is an option for Saturday.
Nobody is going to go, I tell myself. It’s 10pm at night. It can’t develop for tomorrow morning that fast.
Ding – one friend in.
DING DING – two friends in.
DIIIIIIINGGGG – five friends in. Eight friends in.
“Fuck it, I do what I want.”
I am leaving to Iowa soon. I Am In. Give me some of that torture.
The trip was amazing, and for anyone who hasn’t experienced a six course meal with close friends on a sail boat with live music, open bar, and first class service, I recommend it. You deserve it. It is damn near impossible to be unhappy in an environment like that. I enjoyed watching an entire family sailing and working together, living out their paradise together in their own happy madness. It is motivation for the weary, and my friends are pretty amazing too.
Did I need to drink 14 Rum Punches? Probably not. But I did, and that high, ooooh that high continued into sunset, and into the night and just as the sun began to rise, that light was there again, and all the darkness never came.
When I leave this place, it is going to be on my terms. I am going to leave as the best version of myself that I can imagine being, and grow from there.
So can there be bliss without the pain?
Hell, I don’t know.
I only wish there would have been more of everything. More crazy, more calmness, more late nights into sunrises, more camaraderie, more chances taken, more intimate conversations without the lubrication. More laughing and tom foolery, More children being born. More, more, more…. affairs of the heart, and time with the friends who have become family. I am going to take all of it with me, for a long time.
Then one day, the things I want to leave behind because they cause me too much pain, or my soul to ache, I will simply put it in a shot of tequila, say thank you, and proceed to throw it over my shoulder on the sly.
Monday is coming, and it will tell me everything I need to know.
This essay originally appeared on ReviveWellnessLangosta.com, and is part of a 5-part series detailing Corey Hahn’s life transforming transition before his journey back home from Costa Rica after 17 years away — with his 9-year-old son by his side.
Click here for Part 1: One Year to the Rest of My Life.
Click here for Part 2: Mind Over What Matters.
Click here for Part 4: Sandpaper and Goober.
Click here for Part 5: What Dreams May Come.
Photo courtesy of the author.