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.

Life Is Hard…Isn’t It?

Yes, it is, but for the sake of this question, let’s say it’s more in the middle. It’s not easy or hard. It’s just average.

When I was a pre-teen and starting to drift into adolescence, there was a time I feared becoming an adult. After spending every year of my life from the time I could speak complete sentences spouting how much I can’t to be grown up, that desire turned into one of fear. It seems when you’re a teenager, people love to pound into your head being an adult spells the end of any amount of fun in your life. That’s not an exaggeration in the slightest. I lost count of how many adults told me as a teenager, and a very impressionable one at that, how 18 essentially marked the end of any fun, pleasure, and joy. Telling me I had no choice in the matter, despite it already being a fact, did not help either. That only served to make me paranoid and further push me into a depression I was already struggling with.

I view it similar to how some people may speak about parenthood. Similar to the above, I heard countless times that having a child meant your life was over. Yet, the same people who said this either already had a child or asked why someone else didn’t want any. Gee, why wouldn’t I want any kids after hearing for 5+ years they spell the end of my life before I could even feel like I lived it? Yes, I know why people say this to teenagers, but the memory of those words don’t exactly vanish after age 18.

My frustration here is it’s apparently mature to make your life as hard and joyless as possible and I want to know why. Why do some adults push children and teenagers into believing adulthood means you never have fun again? Why is 18 treated as a magic age where you’ll suddenly know all the answers and you’ll do a 180 into an all-knowing, always serious person with no joy or empathy? I heard so many times during my adolescence that nobody cares about your hardships as an adult, yet I find more people care now than when I was a child! More people listen to me now! Not everyone, but more.

More so, what’s wrong with not wanting your life to be hard? Many people see someone who doesn’t want a certain responsibility – parenthood, the top of a career, etc – as lazy, lacking ambition, and a perpetual child. Why? Would it be better if they did those things and screwed it up? Why is a relatively lax life seen as a bad thing? If life is not supposed to be a competition, why the need to one-up someone else with who has it harder? If everyone is doing what they need to do, making their way, and managing in life, who cares who’s more tired than who? Everybody’s tired at some point. Go to bed.

Now, I’m not saying people shouldn’t be acknowledged and appreciated. If someone has worked 72 hours in a row, I’ll have more sympathy for their exhaustion than someone whose only exercise was getting out of bed once a day for the last week (assuming said person is mentally and physically healthy). I’m saying if life is hard, why make it harder if you don’t want to? Where’s the maturity in pushing yourself to the brink of exhaustion everyday because someone sees you as a child if you don’t? Most of all, where did this “adults don’t have fun” concept come from to begin with? If adults don’t have fun, why do R-rated movies and TV-MA rated shows exist? Why do bars and wineries exist? Why do nightclubs exist? I hope no kid is plastered on the dance floor at 2 AM!

The reverse is true as well. Adults also make Disney, toys, and video games. What I described above is not my favorable scene, so I stick to PG-rated fun. My bedroom looks like a child’s paradise and society can have my stuffed animals when they pry them from my cold, dead arms!

Unless your goals in life amount to being an axe murderer, or something similarly heinous, whatever you want to do with your life is fine. Aiming to travel to all the continents in the world? Good luck! I hope you get to them all safely! Comfortable in your hometown and like spending your days off at home? Cool! Me too! It feels great to kick your feet back, doesn’t it?

Unless you have the luck and privilege of being born into a very wealthy family, life is going to be hard in some way. Unless you want to, don’t make it harder than it has to be. Really, it’s not necessary.

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.

Where I Stand

I didn’t really enjoy 2014 and I don’t think 2015 will be much different. However, it seems I’m on good standing for the time-being. My only concern is finding a job. Really, at this rate, I’m looking for multiple jobs, but I’ve got to start with one.

I have a relationship that seems to be slowly and steadily progressing. Sunny does want to see me, and the silly arguments have become less frequent and replaced by “lovey-dovey” silliness. Hopefully, we’ll meet each other during one of the remaining 360 days. He hasn’t said much more about the illness he has, so I assume he’s alright for the present. That’s my biggest hope for this year. He survives that illness.

I’ve started an art blog (linked under my list of Tumblr ones). I’ve settled on becoming a freelance animator and web designer. I still have no clue how to start, but I figured an art blog is a good first step. Of course, I have to improve my art and that’s what that blog is for. I have a lot of work to do. I’ve started with at least one drawing a week so far. Some by hand and some by computer. I know how to create animation. After I improve my art, I have to learn how to make good animation. And I do plan to attend college for those careers eventually, but not for a few more years. I’m going to work first. It’s a slow start, but it’s still a start.

I’m also keeping myself busy with games and writing. I know it’s not really work, but I can’t just lay around because I’m out of school. I’m writing chapters for my Sims games and OC groups, and playing through the newest Pokémon games, Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire. I also have certain characters and outfits I need to draw for more than one of my series. I’m not really worrying about getting a driver’s license since the only car we have can’t legally be driven (no insurance).

I don’t want to bite off more than I can chew because that’s what usually causes me to fail, but I’ve said I want to learn more languages and I think I may start using DuoLingo to do that. Perhaps not now, but when I get more of this stuff done. And I will finally finish up the Sailor Moon 90s anime. It’s really ridiculous I haven’t finished it yet.

I’m also going to delete the Pokémon Platinum wedlocke I was doing. That’s simply not something I’m going to get done, so there’s no point in leaving it there. I don’t like to be on camera anyway.

Two Careers In One?

First off, let me just say I didn’t post about the Six Flags trip because it was awful. And no, I didn’t meet Sunny. I don’t know exactly what happened, but I don’t think he even came. The last time I was able to talk to him before going, he wasn’t feeling very well. Now, that that’s out of the way…

About two months ago, I posted about my biggest dream. Now, something has changed. Or rather, something been added.

Instead of a web designer, I seem to find myself wanting to become an animator. My mind has changed three times over the course of two years. When I mentioned this to a fave blogger of mine, she told me I could be all of those things and I shouldn’t limit myself. But the truth is I’m afraid to pursue either of those dreams. Art careers are notorious for being risky and the phrase “starving artist” exists for a reason. I gave up the first goal (which I will not mention, but it wasn’t art-related) because I’m clumsy and could hardly stay awake for the lectures (14 years of sitting and being lectured is enough). Granted, if I were to attend college for design or animation, it might be similar, but I don’t think sitting and reading out of a textbook is all that’d be happening. The blogger’s advice in regards to becoming a freelance animator was:

As far as I can tell, the secret is simply to make stuff, share it with as many people as possible and network a lot.

I don’t know how to network, but all in all, it sounds like a good start and it’ll let me know if I really want to stick with it or not. Of course, some programs for animation would be needed first. All I have is Photoshop, which I don’t even use to draw. I use it to add text, effects, and backgrounds. I was considering making an art blog on Tumblr, but I’ll probably just combine it with my main one until I’m certain I like what I’m doing. I already made the mistake of going to college against my wishes once. I’m not going to do it again.

My Biggest Dream

I have a lot of dreams. Buy a house, be self-employed, be away from my family. However, my biggest dream is to own a large flower garden.

That dream comes from an ideal I have of flowers being the most beautiful things in the world. The vision I have in my head is the sun shining on the garden as butterflies are fluttering about in it. I know it’s a fantasy, as it definitely wouldn’t be that perfect realistically, but it’s still something I want to see.

My favorite flowers are red tulips, but I want to have many different kinds in my garden. Tulips, lilies, sunflowers, pansies, and whatever else could fit in. I’d want to have the garden right behind my house, which means I’d need a lot of space.

After being uncertain for so long, I finally have my mind made up about what I want to be: a self-employed web designer. I’m not sure how to go about it, but that’s not strange. I do hope if I ever get that going, some other things will get going too…like my dream of a garden.

Struggling Through Depression

Depression sucks. That’s an understatement. I’ve currently been dealing with it for seven years and counting. I feel bad almost everyday and some days are truly awful. Not so long ago, I had a day where I was feeling so bad, I wanted to hurt myself. I didn’t. Instead, I made some feel-good images and posted them on my main Tumblr blog. I got a message from one of my followers, expressing sympathy. I also told one of my friends and she replied back, saying she understood and hoped I was okay. I really appreciated that.

Still, some days, I feel like I’m fighting just to get out of bed and when I do get up, it’s a mental struggle to stay up. And I hate myself for feeling that way. I hate feeling like everything is a battle to do, even things I enjoy. My mind feels heavy, almost like a headache, but I don’t have one.

As hard as it is, I know life in general is a struggle and, for me, depression is a part of it, but I can’t keep lying down and doing nothing. That’s much easier said than done, but I know I can do it. A few months ago, I mentioned wanting to create a “productivity list“. I never got around to it, but now, I don’t think I need to. I do something I deem productive almost everyday and I don’t need to keep track. I also know it’s okay not to be productive once in a while.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I’m going to try to send in three job applications a week. It’s not much, but it’s something and maybe I can slowly increase it as time goes on. I’ve also decided this time to not stop when I start something and get it finished. Right now, I have an unfinished game, an unfinished picture, and an unfinished story. I know I don’t have to finish them in one day, but I will get them done. It’s not going to be an easy and I know I’m going to have more awful days, but that might be when I need to do something most to calm myself.

I don’t think I’ll have much of a chance of recovering from depression until I can support myself, so until then, I’ll do my best to hang on.