~ That’s when you can really know that you are happy: when you don’t realize it’s happening. ~
(PC Huffington Post)
I wasn’t always motivated. It kind of came in spurts… I tend to be a high-strung person, so there would be bursts of mad pursuit toward a hobby, and then a terrible burnout. For instance, there were my 7-year-old play-writing days. And then, once every one of my friends quit my play, I hit a real 7-year-old low and stopped; then started up again when I was 12. That time I quit because, just weeks before the play, I got too overwhelmed. In retrospect, there’s probably at least a few good reasons why 12-year-old’s aren’t put in charge of hour-long play productions.
Then there were my novel-writing years. Since I was 8 years old, I’ve known I was destined for writing as a career in some form. I thought I’d write fiction, and for a few years I did, writing many short stories about made-up characters, about my friends, and about my family, as well as novels up to 410 pages long, due–I can only explain–to my lack of anything better to do. Despite their disastrous or awkward outcomes, I also gained an enormous amount of confidence as a motivated person from those experiences. I don’t know whether it was my parents continually telling me I was destined for greatness, or me just believing it to be true myself; regardless, today I feel I am a much stronger, more motivated person because of my choices as a (very) young person to pursue a greater self.
Perhaps it depends on the kind of learner you are–I myself am kinesthetic, meaning I learn from hands on experience,–so jumping into the trenches and practicing what I am learning at full throttle is what has been so effective for me, but might not be necessary or as fruitful for someone who is instead an auditory or visual learner. Other learning practices may be more helpful than my do-it-myself attitude. In my case, anyway, my gradual willingness over the years to experiment with maybe-hobbies and experiences that took courage to get involved in has seemed to put me ahead of others who appear to be only floating along without much direction. I wish more people would have direction. Surprisingly, rather than it feeling like an unnecessary stress added to all of my other responsibilities, my commitment to pushing myself ever forward has proved to increase my self-respect.
Pursuing the future possibilities with as much tenacity and determination as can be conjured up is exciting, and makes me afraid at times, but it’s always well-worth it not only for it’s advantages but it’s never-disappointing thrill. Being motivated is, I believe, a form of dreaming–about what your future could be like, about who you could be. Getting where you wanna get in life, and who you wanna be when you get there, takes effort. I can’t say I speak from the experience of one who has got there, but I have experienced the euphoria of feeling I was the best version of myself, and that is something impossible to compare with nearly anything else.
I realized in a blurry moment a few months ago, amidst the busyness of school and work and life, that I was happy. That’s a moment not to be forgotten. A moment I’ve worked toward in counselling and prayer and years of growing and growing and growing “up”. (How grown up does one have to be to be officially “grown up” anyway?) I wondered why, and I still may not know for sure, but I think it had something to do with my transition from surviving in high school to choosing life after graduation. Many, many elements composed such a transition, all in just such a way that it crept up on me until all of sudden I realized I was not the same. That’s when you can really know that you are happy: when you don’t realize it’s happening.
All my years in high school–and mind you, high school was a funereal time flecked with glittering instants of happiness–I had been surviving. Between dealing with my brothers, tolerating my mom, watching my dad do little to nothing to fix the errors in our family-dynamics, carrying the burden of my harrowing load of homework, trying to be a good girl that God could love, and trying to keep decent friends around, I had been worn very thin. I had lost the ability to experience life for all of it’s loveliness and was instead manually breathing just to get through the day without failing to measure up to the expectations unfairly given me.
Graduating high school was like a successful new years resolution. I was a new person, heart and soul. Granted, this wasn’t pretty at the beginning. I have gone through a hell of a time, first sifting through an overwhelming pile of emotional trash to, eventually, delicately fine-tuning the better parts of me. Now, with so much of the Bad behind me, I feel like I’ve been slowly, deliberately gliding into the Good. Life is a hearty, silver-lined thing indeed, and I am–I believe with all of my heart–going to live a version of it that will make everything that came before make sense.
I was about to say that this story began with motivation. But I only started and then stopped because I realized that isn’t true. This story–like every other story–began with God. I believe that it was He who planted a seed of motivation in me when I was so small that–after insistent cultivation over the years–it’s grown in me to courage and desire to pursue wonders so big that I can’t help but give in, and thus be happy.
I’m sure my experience isn’t the only one like it that exists. Self-pursuit is a quality that has saved the hearts–and begun the careers–of many. I say this for sundry reasons, including the outstanding fact that this is my blog so of course I’m writing about myself, but also just to say…this is me now. And it could be you too.
So allow me to be cliche and say: dream big.
But also: find the courage to make something of those dreams.
And not just something. Make it the catalyst of becoming your best self.