8 months ago
Tonight at dinner, my mom asked me whether I had filed my taxes yet. Well of course, I thought. There are three weeks before the deadline, so I assumed people would have already at least started thinking about it. Apparently my parents hadn’t. No surprise there. As I proudly proclaimed the fact that I had indeed already filed AND received my return check, I thought about how motivated I was just a few months ago. I had a goal to reach, and I eagerly jumped into action to get back a percent of the hard-earned money the government seemed to be sneaking out of my paycheck every two weeks. Mean.
Two months later, I wonder where all that motivation went. My life last semester included literally spending 50+ hours in the studios every week, on top of a horrendous Writing Intensive art history course, and spending about 20 hours a week wearing a ridiculous green bowling outfit to a place I call Work. I never got a break, and my color-coded Google Calendar schedule became key to my survival. There would be days when I decided to be daring and not stick to the amount of hours I had planned out to spend on certain assignments, and my life became even more living hell as I tried to catch up on my scheduled assignments.
I read a book this week. A Million Miles In A Thousand Years by Don Miller, to be exact. It mostly happened because I was complaining like a girl, and Pete told me to read this book. Then occurred the repeated instances of me refusing, then complaining again, him telling me to read it, me not knowing why he was being such an annoying advocate about it and it ended with Pete shoving the book in my hand, me ignoring it, then during one of my many hours of sedentary time of procrastination, I opened it up, and he won. In this book, Don Miller tells us that the principles of writing a good story can also be applied to our own lives. You are the storyteller, and subsequently also the protagonist of your own life. One thing he writes is that good stories don’t just happen. Last semester didn’t just HAPPEN to be successful; it happened because I planned out my days. There was never a day when I had projects to do and I just sat around waiting for the next best art to appear out of nowhere; I worked for it. As I was reading this book that got me hooked and gave me another reason to procrastinate, I sat there and thought about how great of an idea that was: that planning out my days with my homework assignments would surely help me out with my semester. And yeah, maybe getting assignments done right and on time would help me get motivated to keep going. Heck, once I stop wasting so much of my time, that might even start one of those magical “Snowball Effects” people talk about and I would bang out one project, and another, and another, and then I could just be a really great motivated artist who did their homework on time!
Where is the eject button because that movie sounds like it would suck. It sounds like a good substory about a character overcoming a 20-credit semester at college and all, but an actual story doesn’t yet exist. It doesn’t sound awesome, and if that movie came out, I would run back to the tech booth and immediately stop it before the credits revealed “Karen Mawikere” as the name of the protagonist. I know you probably expected some inspirational ending testifying on how dramastically my life has improved after reading this book, but my realization that I waste too much time doing absolutely nothing for no reason is really just a start. That statement of realization is an initial post to record where I am now so that maybe (hopefully), I can look back on this later and the protagonist in my story would have changed and she’d be able to laugh at and appreciate the state where she was at. I want to live out a good story, but I guess substories are a good start, and I could make the rest of this semester a great one. After all, what’s a story without its scenes?
And considering I read this book in two days, which is infinitely faster than it’s taken me to finish another one in an entire year, you will probably see more posts about it than you think necessary. But I’m sure that once you read it, you’ll understand.
“And once you live a good story, you get a taste for a kind of meaning in life, and you can’t go back to being normal; you can’t go back to meaningless scenes stitched together by the forgettable thread of wasted time.” —Don Miller