Sitting down to write is one of my favourite things to do – especially when you’re in ‘the zone’.
You sit down, at a local cafe, feeling all Bradshaw-esque, tapping away at the keyboard like you’re on some frantic mission to decode a time bomb threatening to wipe out humankind, patting yourself on the back in awe of your own wittiness and charm… But for some bizarre reason, for me, it is one of the easiest things to make excuses for.
Past writing teachers have advised me that this is my fear of failure; the fear of investing time and effort into something I write only to feel it is not good enough… I’m not really sure that this is the case… does anyone actually even read the shite that I put out here?! Why is it that something that brings me so much joy, allows my creative juices to flow, and is an outlet to vent my anxieties by writing down my thoughts and getting them out of my head and onto paper, comes so low on my list of priorities?
The more people I speak to about it, the more common I find this concept; people are just not making time for the things they love – life is getting in the way.
I couldn’t help but wonder… (Bradshaw eat your heart out…) has this only recently become a very human thing to do? Or has it always been an innate concept?
Why is it that I work a full time job (and then some, many teachers would argue…), go to gym three or four times a week, socialise with Tom, Dick, and Tindy every night of the week, party Friday and Saturday night and couch potato it on Sunday, wash and iron my clothes, bath my dog frequently and seperate my recyclables… but I can never find even 20 minutes a day to sit and write? When this is probably the thing I want to be doing most… Especially in comparison to the Tindy dates!?
I think a lot of the time we make excuses for the things we want to do most in life, especially if this thing may be categorised as a waste of time, or a pointless excessive by others… or if we feel like others may pass judgement on us… But why can’t we do something for the love of it – set aside financial gain, public recognition, career progression, peer group popularity or material accumulation… when did doing something for the simple love of doing it stop becoming a thing?
Instead of giving you a generalisation, I’ll take you inside the mind of The Bug.
I, for one, can sometimes get caught up in the toxic cycle which is putting other’s needs before your own… Many psychologists (or perhaps just mine?) would suggest that this is a certain way to loose your sense of self, and to lose sight of what is important to you as a human… I would suggest that currently, at 28 (Editors note: this was written LAST year… I am now, as you are all aware, sadly, 29), I have a stronger sense of self than I have ever felt before… I know who I am, I know what I want, what I don’t want, what I will tolerate and what can fuck right off… but just because I know it, doesn’t mean I’m prepared to go out on a limb and fight for it. I find comfort in thinking that, just like an alcoholic, acknowledgement is one of the first signs of progress… I am hoping that in time, I will learn to put my needs and wants ahead of those around me (where appropriate of course).
But for now, I’m starting small. And I’m dedicating more time to my writing.
A friend recently sent me a quote from Zadie Smith. It read:’My dear, resign yourself to the lifelong sadness that comes from never being satisfied. But also resign yourself to the lifelong momentary flashes of happiness that arrive in the seconds between after having completed a journey and pursuing a new one. For while we, the never satisfied, are lifelong grievers, the rest are lifelong settlers. For while we aim high and constantly fall short, they aim low, and lower, and are constantly satisfied with themselves for having hit such low hanging fruit’- Zadie Smith.
I feel like I would be well and truly tooting my own horn to say that I feel like I could have written those words… but wow did those words hit home.
It is only after recently having returned home from living abroad late last year, the summer tan has faded and the rush of moving into the city has become the normal ebb of everyday life that I find myself questioning my place in this world, and wondering if I will ever be ‘at peace’; if I will ever be truly satisfied and happy. And then this quote came along. And I realised I was living these words. I am in the lul of calm, finished one big adventure and not quite sure what the next journey I pursue will be…
I have realised that it is at these times where the calm of my own mundane-ness scares me silly, as I question my existence and the audacity I have to be bored. But the truth is… I want more. I don’t know what I want more of exactly… just that I want more. More adventures? More chocolate, certainly… More journeys and experiences and failures and attempts… If not the journeys – bitter, blissful, or slightly salty/slightly sweet, what else is there in life to keep us stimulated? Daily tedium is not for me. And then this quote came along. And instead of berating myself for feeling bored or static, I gave myself a solid pat on the back; for wanting more – for recognising that I want more. For not being content to settle (in more areas in my life than one).
Sometimes I feel at such extreme odds with myself that I have to stop for a minute and question if there’s any chance I may have multiple personalities. The afternoons where I am driving home from work and catch the first glimpse of the city as you follow the bend in the freeway approaching the Chandler Highway exit, the sun is shining brilliantly and I catch myself cracking into an enormous smile as I think of my final destination amongst the hustle and bustle of Collingwood; I feel (momentarily) blessed and thankful and fulfilled. The days when I have time on my side so I indulge in my simple pleasure of strolling the aisles of my local Coles; just because I can… then walk home with my enviro bags, grinning ear to ear like a loon because there is a never a dull moment or a dull character on my daily supermarket ritual in one of my favourite suburbs I have ever lived in… The times when I am walking home from the gym, full of adrenaline, feeling slimmer than my shadow, past all the characterful brick buildings that take me back to a time in East London where going to a gym was literally last thing on my mind… The moments when I laugh, genuinely laugh with my kids at work, and feel such a sense of purpose… these all give me fleeting moments of genuine happiness and satisfaction. Fleeting.
These moments are sharply contrasted with deep stabs of this extreme feeling of unfulfilled-ness, un-contented-ness… sat at home asking myself what it will take to truly make me feel happy. This is a scary concept – imagine going through your entire life waiting for the moment, that person, that job or sense of purpose to truly complete you – then realising it’s never going to happen… that you’re destined for a life of un-fulliment because you didn’t get off your ass and go looking for it.
Please don’t misinterpret what I’m saying – I am so blessed, I have an incredible family, a great home, a steady job (Editor’s note: HA – steady job… fked that one off didn’t i!?) and amazing humans that make up my friendship group… what I’m saying is that I’m on a mission to enrich my life to the extreme, in every way I can, to do anything possible to make sure I’m the happiest, fullest, most contently happy person you’ll ever meet… Because before now, this twinge of unfullfilment was scary and inspired guilt – how dare I be unfulfilled with all I have!… but I refuse to see it that way anymore – I’m looking at is as a positive that I simply will not accept a mediocre life, following mundane routines and resigning to a life of okay-ness. I. Want. More. And you know what – not everyone has to be inspired or driven or aspiring to reach for the stars – you do you, and I’ll do me.
So for now, although I don’t know what my next step will be, I’ve gotten to first base by acknowledging that I *want*, and I’m now working on *what* it is I want, and then, logically, I’m sure I’ll start asking myself *how*… and so on and so forth… so yeh, that’s me for now, I’m back, and I’m ready… Hopefully now the heavy stuff is off my chest the next post will be about Bardot’s new summer collection or an in-depth assessment and review of the new enormous range of popcorn now on offer at my local Coles…