I envy people who have one dream and everything about their life is driving towards it. You want to be a musician. You’ve been playing musical instruments since you were a child. You’re studying music in school. Yes, you might hustle but your opportunity cost is reduced.
Someone like me who used to draw a lot and write(essentially an artistic individual) found himself in Science class in school and is currently studying Computer Sciences.
It’s like being tied to two horses running in completely opposite directions.
How do you nurture one without starving the other?
Go back in time and meet eleven year old Daniel. He didn’t need too much. You could lock him up in a room with a couple of good books, comics, a pen, pencils and paper and he would’ve been fine. You wouldn’t even have known he was around. He loved movies and animations as well but they weren’t a requirement. As much of a picky reader that he was, he could spend hours on a good book, only needing to get up to eat or use the toilet. He used to write stories. Pick a pen and a notebook and write for hours, letting his imagination fly. Writer’s block? What was that?
A decade later (oh my God I feel old) he struggles. Struggles to balance his life that hasn’t even taken flight yet. Struggles to find motivation to do the things he used to do naturally. Every bit of leisure seems like a waste of time.
This can’t be what growing up feels like. It’s definitely a scam.
One of my goals for this year was to get back into writing again, amongst other things. I told myself I’d read a book a month. That was far more realistic than a book a week. I wasn’t that delirious. That meant that by the end of 2018 I should’ve finished at least twelve books. A small number, but a reasonable goal.
School saw that resolution, met Laziness and they both ganged up against me to make sure that didn’t happen. I tried, but ultimately a book a month seemed too far fetched.
Somewhere at the middle of the year or slightly earlier, I picked a book that had taken me ages to read before and finished it. It was The Hammer of Thor, which is the second book in the Magnus Chase series, an extension of the Percy Jackson mythos. Then I read the third book and finished it. I tried to read from the Trials of Apollo but I never got around to continue. Then I started reading The Case For Christ and my beloved phone(what I used to read) got stolen(of blessed memory). The vibe to continue never came back fully.
During the same month (July) I found this vibe to finally read Harry Potter and find out what was so special about it. Now I’m currently on the third book. This was barely within the space of two weeks so I can assume I’d be done with the series by September, provided I don’t get much busier than I am now. The current challenge I’m facing is disciplining myself to put the book down or to not pick it up when I have higher priorities. Laziness would always try to creep in when you’re finally trying to do something right in your life.
You’d be surprised how much time you actually have. I try to read on the way to work and back, for starters. If you spend 30 minutes on the road, for example you can put off your data and read a book instead, rather than crying that you don’t have time throughout the day.
Priorities shift. I find it difficult to watch movies these days, as much as I love them. This trend started one or two years ago. In the constant drive to want to get better, and the need to get things done, a random two hours on a movie feels like wasted time, unless I deliberately decide I want to use those two hours to watch a movie. There’s always something better to do and something to learn. I used to get movies and just stack them up, only to eventually get rid of them without watching them.
That’s not to say I don’t binge a series or spend hours on several movies sometimes but I hate myself when doing it from time to time.
Reading is easier to spend time on because I’ve been convinced (and also convinced myself) that it isn’t wasted time. Fiction or nonfiction. In one way or the other, I’m developing myself. Be it through broadening my creativity, vocabulary building and the like. The same thing goes for time I spend writing. My art, which I decided to go through a more digital approach instead of just drawing portraits has taken a back seat for a while now. The intent of this post was to highlight my struggles when it comes to doing things I love but I think I’ll pat myself on the back for how far I’ve come so far as well.
I hope to revive my art soon. I’m making plans in that regard.
Speaking of priorities, school seems to find a way to trump everything, which is frustrating when you look at how you’re actually not learning much of what you expect to learn in a school environment. Most of what you know, you learned on your own, anyway. But somehow these things seem to take all the space and what you love doing shifts downwards on your priority spectrum.
Another thing I noticed is how the aching need to make something of your life and monetise your habits kills the flare for the habits you have in the first place. You keep brainstorming on how to use a skill to eat, get depressed on how it doesn’t seem to be working out and forget to enjoy it. It becomes a drag and you look less forward to doing it. That affected me too. At least it would be easier to goad yourself into doing something if you actually enjoyed it right?
So I’ve decided to calm down. There’s no need to rush anywhere. I recently met a 16 year old who practically enjoys digital art. She makes money off of it from time to time but she just does it for fun. We take pride in learning as we get older and don’t realise how many useful things we actually unlearn.
Anyway, I’ve realised that the thing standing between us and what we want out of this life is daily discipline. Choosing the right time to do something and sticking to that, whether or not it’s the most enjoyable thing you could be doing at the moment.
I refuse to believe I have to choose one thing I like over the other. Definitely, at some certain time periods one has to have a higher priority than the other but not a total dumping of the lesser priority at that time. I believe we waste too much potential as humans by trying too hard to streamline ourselves. You can open many tabs on your smartphone but you just want a simple one way trip with a straight and single road in this life?