Ambition

It never occurred to me that going to college wasn’t mandatory. My mother had been drumming it into my head since the age of six. You will go to college. College was the next grade after 12th. That was what one did.

I don’t know why, but it shocked me that everyone didn’t feel that way. Many of my high school friends never went for higher education. They had other goals in life. Now I know that there’s nothing wrong with that.

It wasn’t until I met someone with no ambition at all that I realized how important goals truly are. This guy will probably always live in the same city. He’ll always have the same job, and the same struggles. He is so stuck in the past that he never looks toward the future. He works toward nothing. He looks forward to nothing. He never gets excited about anything. He has absolutely no imagination. He doesn’t want anything because he thinks he doesn’t deserve it. He never takes risks because he is too afraid of failure.

He is the most boring human being I’ve ever met. Being in his presence is depressing. I feel sorry for him. But I also have no respect for him.

Ambition is what makes life worth living. Striving for something is why you get out of bed in the morning. And your goals don’t have to be financial. That’s no yardstick to use to measure your life. Accumulation of stuff is meaningless. You goals should be about achieving something, or going somewhere, or creating something, or checking something off your bucket list. Those goals should be unique to you.

I’m not telling you what goals to have. I’m just saying, for heaven’s sake, have some. Otherwise, what’s the point?

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Procrastination

This will be my 575th blog entry. I haven’t missed a day since I started this project back in December of 2012. It astounds me that I’ve been able to come up with this many points to ponder, but I have loved every minute of it. Because of this blog, my writing has improved and I’ve become much more observant. I’ve also made new friends and have become much more comfortable with who I am. It turns out I actually kind of like me. Go figure.

It really amazes me that I’ve kept this up for so long, though, because I’ve never tackled anything this ambitious before. I could never be bothered. College? Yeah, I always graduated with honors, but that wasn’t really a challenge for me. Education is just something I’m good at. If I could get paid for learning, I’d be a millionaire. This, on the other hand, takes effort, but I adore it. That’s why I never procrastinate when it comes to this blog. If anything, I often put it ahead of other things that I should be doing. That’s what I’m doing right now.

I’m supposed to be packing my apartment for my upcoming move, but I’m so overwhelmed I feel paralyzed. I don’t know where to start. Basically, I don’t wanna. That’s what procrastination is, if you think about it. It’s an internal temper tantrum that you’re throwing because you don’t want to do something that you have to do. Think about it. You never put off doing the fun stuff.

Even though I know that in these situations I always feel much better if I get it over with, that still doesn’t seem to motivate me to get off the couch. I’ll do it tomorrow. Yeah, that’s what I’ll do.

Since I know my ability to procrastinate so well, I try really hard not to have more than three unfinished projects lying around at any given time. Before I add something to the to-do list, and thus add to my stress level, I try to get rid of something else. But packing is the mother of all list generators, so I’m a bit of a wreck right now. Having more than three things hanging over my head is making me anxious.

If you are limiting yourself to only three projects a day, I highly recommend that you make one of the three a nap. So off I go, to tick that nasty little chore off my list. It’s a dirty job, but somebody’s got to do it. Honestly, you should be impressed. It’s not easy to sleep when you’ve got so much on your mind. But I’m willing to accept the challenge. I’m a go-getter.

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Youth Protest

Throughout the world, regardless of race, creed, or culture, it always seems to be the youth, the students, who come out and protest when change needs to occur. They are the ones who march on Selma, who stand in front of tanks in Tiananmen Square, who rise up in Tahrir Square.

Oh yes, we adults are there, too, but for sheer numbers, strength, energy and presence, you can’t beat the youth of the world. And it’s ironic, because every generation seems to belittle that same group. We often say they have no purpose, no ambition, no drive. They’re lazy and unproductive, have no opinions and make nothing of themselves.

I say just give them a good cause and see what happens to that laziness.

Is it because they are younger, stronger and healthier that they are willing to sleep in the open to prove their points? Is it because they have the time? Do they have less to lose? It is certainly much easier to walk away from a job to join a picket line when you don’t have a mortgage, a car payment, and children to feed.

Or is it what I fear deep down: that the older you get, the more apt you are to be covered in an ever-thickening blanket of cynicism? I can only speak for myself, but I know that when I was younger, I was much more idealistic. I was much more apt to believe that change could actually occur. I really did think that my voice, when added to others, could be heard and acted upon.

Oh, I still speak out. I still sign petitions, write blogs and letters and newspaper articles, express my opinion, and I will march, even if only for a day. But the fact is, I’m tired. I’m tired, I’m disillusioned, and on my darkest days I’m bitter. I guess I’m just not as young as I used to be.

So I want to thank the youth of the world. Keep up the good work. It’s important.

Raise Hell

(Unfortunately, more and more, I find myself carrying on.)