What I’m about to say might sound contradictory: Life outside of school is boring.
I’ve been an Oregon grad for merely seven months and I’m already itching to get back into reading, writing, and class discussions. Comment threads on YouTube videos or Facebook posts simply do not cut it. So many people with nothing better to do than write mean things to each other without ever having met. It’s really annoying.
But seriously, with my constant routine of wake up, go to work, come home, and go to sleep, I’m starting to feel like a mindless drone. I know I’m not a mindless drone, though; “I think, therefore I am,” as that famous guy once said a long time ago (5 points if you know who that was). But with nothing more than a job and a few household responsibilities to consume my day, I’m getting rather bored.
I felt ambitious in college. Sure, I work hard at both my jobs because I feel ambitious about making a living, but that’s the extent of it: making a living. Eight months ago, I felt ambitious about changing things like peoples’ lives or societal influences. Yeah, I know they’re big things to tackle, but it seems like I had the energy and will power to at least take it on. Nowadays I feel good about myself if I put the dish soap in the right slot.
In all honesty, though, I have been reading and writing. But this morning I browsed through previous entries in my journal and noticed a more vibrant voice and a lot more words. It means only one thing: I read and wrote a lot more back in college because I was extremely ambitious and knew those things I was reading or writing were going to help. And yet here I am sitting in my sweats and drinking a little Gentleman Jack mixed with Arizona raspberry iced tea.
“Livin’ the dream.” That’s the phrase I often hear back from other college graduates who are doing exactly what I’m doing: working a couple part time jobs to pay rent and buy food until something bigger comes along. Of course, I know for a fact everyone who’s answered that has done so sarcastically. At least I hope so. I know I wouldn’t want to be stuck working a part time job after graduating college; kind of the opposite of what I had in mind when I first went to school.
I guess what I’m really pointing out right here is the fact that dreams and ambitions and aspirations aren’t just going to fall into your lap. And they certainly aren’t going to be achieved by constantly having the inspiration; that’s only temporal. But what, then, can sustain one’s dream(s) through the phase of routine and ritual? Discipline’s a good word and so is commitment, but there’s something else much simpler and yet much more profound.
Stop making excuses. Stop saying there’s not enough time in your schedule. Stop saying you need inspiration. Write out what your dream is and do it.
This past week I did something I hadn’t done in a long time: I ran. For four days straight (would have been five if I hadn’t worked a double on Friday) I went for a run around the neighborhood. What was interesting about it all was how easy it actually was. I remember that as I put on my running shorts and laced up my shoes, my mind would go crazy thinking about how miserable I was about to feel. And yet, as soon as I got outside, I leaned forward and took off jogging.
I did it.
No excuses. No delays. No “but I’m going to have an asthma attack”s. I put my head down and started running. If there is ever a memo I’d like to leave myself for this upcoming week and for the rest of my life it’s this: Know your dream and go do it. You are the only one stopping yourself.