Wrong Way To Motivate

A certain post in one of my Facebook groups reminded me of something from high school.

When I was in tenth grade (for the second time due to transferring schools), one of my teachers once mentioned planning to get her master’s degree. In what subject, I forgot, but I suppose I asked her about it. I really don’t remember what I said, but I do remember her answer. She told me she was pursuing it because she wanted to be able to walk into a store for a pair of $600 shoes and say she has the money for them.

I didn’t know what to think of that. To this day, I still don’t. I do now understand her intention with that answer was likely motivating me to take my own schoolwork more seriously, but that came off as an extremely shallow reason. I realize she meant she was trying to financially better herself, but surely, there was a better way to phrase it.

I won’t lie and pretend I don’t like shopping. I do, and in the last few years, clothes have made the list of what I like to shop for (when it’s of my own wishes, not someone else’s). But I don’t think there’s any article of clothing on the planet that looks so appealing, I’d be willing to give $600 for a single quantity of it. Especially not clothing that’s worn on the ground! One “talent” I do have is the tendency to give my shoes a pounding. That $600 would become a waste in 2 to 3 months.

Obviously, these are my values, but I don’t like the idea of materialism being a motivator for education. For starters, education itself is expensive. I think I’d sound very funny if I told someone I spent thousands of dollars to be able to blow thousands of dollars. That sort of reason would likely motivate only someone whose end goal was wealth. My end goal is stability, which is not synonymous with wealthiness. That doesn’t mean I’d complain if I were rich. It means it’s not necessary for me to be happy. For me, when I can say I fully support myself without living paycheck to paycheck, I’ll see myself as successful, regardless of what the number allowing me that privilege is.

For the sake of not coming off as “holier than thou”, I’ll say right now I do not think I’m better than anyone whose end goal is wealth and purchasing multi-hundred dollar clothing. If that teacher’s given reason makes sense to someone else or motivates, great. I’m just not that person. Yes, there are expensive things I do want and sometimes obtain, but those things have many more functional uses than strutting pavement, so I see them as more valuable for my own use.

I’m certainly not above materials. I have a big collection of books, games, DVDs, and dolls, as well as some smaller collectible things like jewelry, boxes, and stuff animals, and I have a $100 phone. Whenever I think about that teacher’s comment, I think about how much $600 could buy besides a single pair of shoes. Perhaps it’s only because she said shoes I found her answer very weird since shoes are meant to be worn outdoors and would naturally ruin over time from use. Maybe she was exaggerating and merely trying to emphasize a point. Maybe she thought that was the goal of all students. Or maybe it was some kind of last resort since I wasn’t an easy student to motivate. I value the job I have now over school, so she wouldn’t be entirely off the mark. Only wrong it’s money I care about most.

I do plan to return to school, but I have my own motivation and finance is only a part of them. The most important parts are somewhat intangible. And one is human.

I’m Not Leaving

The last time I made a post like this, it was in December 2013, and I’m not linking it because all but one of those things are completely and wholly untrue now.

Recently, I started thinking about Disney’s upcoming, new Disney Princess, Moana. I plan to see it in theaters with my boyfriend and it will be the very first Disney Princess movie I’ve ever seen in theaters. What crossed my mind was if I’d acted on any of suicidal thoughts I’ve had in the past, that wish wouldn’t be becoming reality.

In truth, I have those thoughts more often than I feel comfortable admitting. I suppose it’s not really bad, but aside from my boyfriend and my best friend, the things I list are usually small. Video game series, television ones, art and stories I’ve created, even this blog. I’m happy to know these things. While I still hold the belief I’d prevent my existence if I could go back in time to do so, since I’m already here, I don’t want to leave.

Of course, that doesn’t mean I don’t struggle with my self-worth and value as a member of society. I very much do, as I’m sure I’ve made evident. Even as I type this, those thoughts of if I’ll ever be more of a contributor than a tax burden are going through my head. Every so often, those thoughts do take over and become very powerful, but the upside is it usually passes within about two days. A very mentally painful two days, but two days nonetheless. It’s not enough to make me wish I wasn’t an adult or make me miss my childhood.

This past weekend, I was with my boyfriend and I realized I frequently call his house “home” when we’re together (“Are we going home after this?” “Who’s home?”). In the latter example, it might make sense because I’m asking who’s at his home, but the former example is obviously including myself. He’s fine with it, but that was the first time I caught myself doing that. I do feel at home with him, not only in his house, but in the state and city he lives. Not so much I’d dare venture around it alone, but enough to have no anxiety about ever going out there. If it were possible and I knew for sure I wouldn’t become homesick for the city I live in, I’d stay there for a week if he and his family allowed it.

I don’t have everything I want in life, but I’m happy because I do have what I wanted more than anything as a kid. I wanted to be surrounded by people who love and care about me. The “surrounded” part doesn’t exist in a physical sense, but I feel it’s there. I never cared if it was a huge team of people. Him and my best friend really are enough (although that doesn’t mean I’d be closed to more). I wanted to go on trips like I did as a kid. I go out of town, out of state, to visit him and it’s a lot more fun than the same museum five times in a row. I wanted another place to call home. I found it.

I’ll keep trying, particularly since I can’t do much else, but I’m not completely unhappy with where I’m at now. I understand things do happen slowly. It certainly took a lot of friends to find my best friend, and a lot of bad dates and relationships to reach my boyfriend. It only makes sense it’ll take a lot of missed jobs to finally find one. I still did score an interview, so that’s something. At least, I know I’m worth being considered.

I’m not happy to be alive, meaning I’d still have preferred not existing to begin with, but I am happy to have things and people in my life that make it not so bad.

No Worth In My Future

How ironic this should happen just a week after this post.

I had a new experience today. Being desperate to find a job, I tried my hand a temp agency that was close to me and I’d learned about from a flyer. I went yesterday, but I didn’t have my social security card, so I had to return tomorrow, but I was given the word of being sent to a particular nearby town I knew of to begin working. It sounded too good to be true to me, but as I said, I was desperate, so I agreed. Later, I asked several people if the offer sounded legitimate and everyone I asked agreed it was. So, I was hopeful.

I should’ve listened to my instincts.

I woke at 4:40 am and left my house an hour later to arrive at the agency at 6 AM, as I’d agreed. The worker there took my card and ID, and accepted them. After waiting for about a half hour and a few more people coming, there was a van ready to escort those who’d shown up to the other town to work. I was nervous, but I assumed this was how temp agencies operate. I got in the van with the others and off we went.

This is where I went wrong.

I didn’t have any reason to believe things had changed from what I was told yesterday, so I questioned nothing. However, it took me only a short time to realize that van was not going where I’d been told I’d be sent to. The passenger next to me called the worker at the agency to ask what happened and, apparently, the employer in the first city cancelled the plan to take temps. So, instead, we were going to a much farther town, which I was familiar with, but did not know my way around. I was immediately dismayed.

To top it off, too many temps had been sent, so only the ones who had previous experience with the work needed to be done were allowed to work (how in the world do you attain work experience without ever getting the chance to work?). That meant the rest of us had to be sent home. I went from dismayed to furious. The van that dropped us off was supposed to return, but I don’t know if it ever did because in the end, my family came to pick me up. I felt terrible for all the trouble I’d caused and at the moment, I still do. So much trouble, all out of desperation for work.

That is my first experience with a temp agency and it will be my last.

When I got home, I almost immediately fell asleep, but after I woke up, I laid in bed for several hours, fighting against crying. The urge to drink was extremely strong and I searched through Google for very strong alcohol brands I could hopefully purchase to intoxicate myself tonight. The intention was to get drunk enough to forget today ever happened, but if it killed me, I wouldn’t have exactly been dissatisfied. After all, when I am so incapable of doing what’s supposed to be the simplest responsibility of adulthood – hold a job – what use do I have to society?

I’ve decided to return to solely applying for jobs, but the deep truth is I’ve given up. I have no more hope of finding any employed work. I have no more hope of making something of myself. I have no more hope of being a useful adult. I don’t expect my life to change or to ever be in a position where I’m supporting myself. I wonder if my promise to myself to avoid drugs and alcohol is truly worth it because it seems I have zero to lose. My friends will eventually move on with their lives, my family will not be able to continue supporting me, and I’ll be left behind. There is really nothing at all I have to lose. Of course, I’d need money to obtain alcohol to begin with, so I couldn’t do so much as an addiction correctly.

There is a hole in my heart from this knowledge and I’ll never be able to fill it. I will die with it. I don’t expect to live out of my twenties. But it may be for the better. I have nothing to offer. Why am I still here? Why should I be here?

Handwriting: Outdated Now?

When I was attending my second high school, one of the rules was handwritten homework isn’t allowed. Anyone who turned in handwritten work failed the assignment, regardless of if they would’ve passed otherwise. I always thought that was a strange rule, especially since we did most of the classwork with paper and pencil until the school gave students iPads during my second year.

I asked this in a Facebook group of mine and got this question in response: “Would you turn in handwritten work at a job?” My answer to that question was unless I was told otherwise, I would give handwritten work.

Apparently, that’s not a good idea. Handwritten work is seen as unprofessional (despite that writing takes more work than typing…), so it isn’t acceptable in jobs. That leads me to this question: why was handwriting ever taught to children in the first place?

Yes, that’s a serious question. If school is supposed to prepare children to hold jobs as adults, why was handwriting taught when I was growing up? My elementary school years were a decade ago, so not that long. Shouldn’t I have never been taught how to write in the first place if it’s unacceptable? And why is it still being taught today? I once read an article about how many recent high school graduates have poor reading and writing skills. I don’t know about the reading, but if handwriting is no longer acceptable, it makes why they’d have poor writing skills. They don’t need them.

I have to admit it’s something that makes me sad and little less optimistic about the future. In another decade, maybe less, handwriting will be an obsolete skill, if it isn’t already. That means there will someday be a whole generation that has never learned how to write or has never heard of handwriting. I understand why if it’s a needless skill, but I can’t say it doesn’t make me question my own early education years. Since I don’t plan to have kids, this isn’t I need to be concerned about. It’s merely me trying to adjust the world becoming more and more digitized. I was prepared for typing to be alongside handwriting, not its replacement.

I can’t find it right now, but I remember seeing a political (?) cartoon where two kids were in class and had books. One kid turned to his friend and asked what it was and how to turn it on. I initially rolled my eyes and scoffed at it, but maybe the artist of that cartoon isn’t so far off the mark. Sure, books are typed instead of handwritten, but I can see a kid looking at handwriting, perhaps finding a picture of it on the internet, and asking how they type it instead of how they write it.

Handwriting becoming obsolete also makes me understand giving very small children tablets. I always found that weird because tablets, even ones specifically designed for children, are expensive and small kids are gluttons are clumsiness and accidents. But if they’re going to type their work, whether it’s on an iPad or a computer, instead of writing on paper, little kids do need tablets. At the very least, they have to learn how to type somehow and somewhere.

Personally, I can’t imagine not knowing how to write and despite it becoming an unneeded skill, it’s one I don’t want to lose. At the same time, I suppose it doesn’t matter. If it’s not needed now, it certainly won’t be needed when I’m 30, 40, 55, and so on, assuming I live to those ages. I probably wouldn’t realize I’d lost the ability to write if I ever did, so maybe it’s something I shouldn’t be thinking about at all.

Technology marches on.

Dreams Change

I feel like I may have talked about this already, but I can’t find it in my archives, so maybe I haven’t.

Something I’ve noticed happen to me over the years is many things I used to long for aren’t desires anymore. In fact, most of my long-term desires are very simple. I’m not sure if it’s happened because I’ve become a cynic or if it’s a result of growing up and learning to be more realistic about both my own limits and life in general.

The best example of this is from when I was a child. One of the most common questions children are asked is, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” My answer was always, “I want to be an animal doctor.” When I learned how to say “veterinarian”, I would answer with that to sound more adult-ish.

Naturally, as a child with a very limited view of the world at the time, I assumed being a veterinarian was little more than checking ears and eyes, and occasionally giving shots to animals just as my doctor did to me, a human. I thought the only difference between playing “doctor” with my stuffed animals and being a doctor of real ones would be the animals are alive.

That childhood dream only lasted until 7th grade, when I finally learned being a veterinarian, and a doctor in general, is much more complicated than it looked in my childish eyes. You have to go to school for a very long time and it’s not cuteness and cuddling the pets most of the day. Of course, nobody told me that before I learned it from science class and the internet. Many people would deem someone cold-hearted, at least, for potentially crushing a child’s dreams. I can’t say if being told earlier what I learned later on would’ve been better, but I’m certain I would’ve recovered from the shock.

I’ve had several other dreams and desires change or fall away entirely due to learning the realism of them: owning a house, having a huge career, having children (yes, I did want children at one point; before I hit 12), certain jobs, and even having a garden, which I previously wrote was my biggest dream.

Some people may say it’s lazy or lacking motivation to change or not go after your dreams for reasons like not wanting to continue school, but I think it’s smart. Let’s face it. Everyone is not cut out for everything. It’s not so much I no longer want these things as it is I now know what I’m capable of handling and what I’m not. To use the veterinarian example again, I’m sick of school. Absolutely sick of it. Graduating high school felt like being released from a 14-year long prison sentence. I was so fed up with school, my family had to put constant pressure on me to attend college and while I did go, it didn’t work out since I had no clue what I wanted to study nor did I want to be there. It would make no sense to put myself through 8+ more years of schooling when I’m so fed up with school, having the debt I’ve obtained is preferable. Add to that I’m very squeamish, sensitive, and get disgusted at the sight of fictional blood and waste, and it wouldn’t make any sense whatsoever to pursue any kind of career in medicine, let alone one as a veterinarian. Let’s also not forget schooling is very expensive. I’d wring myself out like a towel if I went through even one year of medical school and realized I wasn’t cut out for it.

Does that mean I’m not willing to work, and work hard, for anything? Absolutely not. There are some things I still want, despite knowing what it’ll take to get them, and am very much willing to work toward. In fact, I have one of those things. At some point, I decided I was ready for and wanted a relationship, and after two years of bad dating and a little bit of luck, I found a very happy one with a wonderful person. Considering the stories I’ve heard, it seems I got off easy with that, but I sure don’t feel that way, especially since my naïveté led to me having the worst sexual experience of my life.

It only means I know myself better and I’ve discarded dreams that are not reality as I believed they were. I know the difference between the fantasies in my head and what I’ll need to do in reality, and have decided the reality isn’t worth it. If whatever path I go down leads to some of those discarded dreams returning, I’ll reconsider them and for that reason, I stay open to the possibilities. For now, however, they are not active desires, and the desires and dreams I do have remain much more simplistic and generic.

Digitization

It goes without saying the world is moving more and more towards being digital. Video games, books, movies, even TV services can all be purchased and used online. Whenever I’d hear adults talking about technology “taking over”, I’ll roll my eyes and think they were stuck in the past, but I feel like I’m beginning to understand why they feel that way.

Someday, there will be no more libraries, no more video game stores, and no more DVDs on the shelves. All those businesses will eventually close because everything they sell will be purchasable online and companies will stop producing physical copies. Writing will become an ancient skill because everyone will type. Some schools have already stopped teaching children penmanship. Personally, I can’t imagine not knowing how to write and it’s a skill I never want to lose, but I understand why handwriting is becoming viewed as a needless skill now. By the time I was in high school, I didn’t have a single teacher who would accept handwritten homework assignments. If you didn’t type it out, you automatically failed, even if the work itself was satisfactory.

I’m well aware digital is more environmentally friendly above all, but knowing what will eventually happen to pastimes like writing and visiting the library depresses me. When I purchase a digital copy of something, I don’t feel like I own it because it’s not in my possession. I have three full shelves of books. I can easily look at them and say they’re mine. But a digital book? Whose is that? Yes, I paid for it, but I don’t have it. The company I bought it from has it. I don’t have any control over what happens to it. The only way someone can steal the physical books I have is by breaking into my home and taking them by force. And even then, it’s unlikely all of them would be stolen, as the shelf is too heavy to be carried safely anywhere while it’s full.

But how would I be protected against having my digital books stolen, if I bought any? Or what if the company pulls the books from their site or end up going out of business? I lose all of my books and I don’t get my money back. Thus, I’d have to buy the entire collection again rather than just the few I lost.

Progress can’t be stopped, so it’s not like I’m attempting to fight against it. I like technology very much. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t have a computer or any consoles or a cell phone. I’m far from a technophobe. At the same time, I don’t want technology to take over everything. I want to still read at library, shop for games and DVDs at the store, and buy pens and pencils to write in my diary. Yes, I understand these are sentimental reasons, but there are also sentimental reasons for going digital. Not having to leave your home, not having to use up space, and so on. For people who prefer that, the world going digital probably borders on feeling like a gift from the heavens.

I also wonder how far it’s going to go. I feel like it won’t stop at digital libraries and typing instead of handwriting. I’ve read that my generation is the last that regularly played outside. Now, I do still see children playing outside, but not often and not many. I used to find the idea ludicrous, but now I truly believe it’s possible technology will someday allow people to never need to leave their homes. That someday, playgrounds and parks will be torn down due to abandonment and games like tag and hide & seek will become unheard of because all children will know are digital games. I hope so much I’m wrong, but it’s no longer far-fetched for me. I can picture it happening.

I realize I’m probably being a hypocrite in coming out with all of this. I used to say people who hate technology were stuck in the past and yet, I now sound like I’m stuck in the past. I don’t hate technology, but the feeling is the same. Everything will eventually be digitized and I’m going to miss times before that occurred. As dramatic as it may sound, I almost hope I don’t live long enough to see that. Technology is amazing and I don’t want to live without it, but I also don’t want live without handwriting and hard copies of books, games, and shows. Progress isn’t leaving anyone a choice, however, so for those like me who aren’t so enthusiastic, we can only suck it up and hope for the best, whatever that could be.

I’m Scared

There. I said it.

What am I scared of? A lot of things, but this in particular.

I’ve been struggling so much about what to do regarding college and reading things like this only confirms my fears.

Science-related subjects are considered to be the most lucrative careers that exist.  I’ve never heard anyone speak lowly of pursuing these degrees and, in my experience, you’re told you’ll always have a job because they’re in high demand. When people say they got college degrees and still can’t find work or are stuck in dead-end jobs, it’s typically assumed they got a “useless” degree, such as something in art, philosophy, or gender studies.

This just tells me you can work hard and still not get anywhere. It seems like it doesn’t even matter. I already fear returning to college for a degree and ending up right back where I started, but what I want to major in is art-related. To go for something in STEM and still end up right back where I started? I’d kick myself for the rest of my life.

On top of that, I’ve been told there are many different paths to success, but I can only find three. Go to college, go to trade school, or find a job and work your way up. I’ve heard of trade school being more profitable than college, especially because you’re not saddled with debt for an extremely long time, but I can’t think of a single trade I’d be capable of. If web design or art/animation were a trade, I’d go for one of those, but unfortunately, they’re not. I’ve also heard, unlike college, you cannot get financial assistance for trade school. You have to pay for it out of your own pocket. I’m still unemployed, so that’s not possible. My only option is finding a job, which I am having a very hard time with.

The only thing I’m sure of right now is that I am a terrible adult. I cannot figure anything out. I’ve been an adult for three years now and I still have no clue how to be one. I’m already upset that I can’t avoid debt, meaning I will owe someone or something money for as long as I live, and I’m honestly afraid I am always going to be in this position. If I end up going back to school, I want that venture to pay off. Not to throw shots at anyone, but I do not want to end up like my mother, going back to school multiple times in an attempt to better my life and getting nowhere except into more debt.

It’s terrifying and I know adults are supposed to do everything themselves (pretty much the point of being an adult), but I wish I had someone to guide me through all of this and help me get somewhere. I don’t know where I am or what I’m doing or how I’m going to get myself anywhere except where I’m already at. I know what I want. I can’t figure out how to get it. I wish adulthood came with a manual for these situations.

Really, all I want is not to be so useless. Clearly, I’m not doing that well.