Or lack thereof, is a problem, and here it is New Year’s Day.  A time to promise to live better and control expenses, write that novel, shop that novel, find an agent, not live on credit cards, get fit and somewhere in all that you remember to be grateful and enjoy each monotonous, lonely day.

And year after year we find a dozen reasons not to live better; I don’t have to live by society’s standards, I am who I am, I accept me as I am, extra weight and all.  Right? Isn’t that what it’s all about?  Who will care if I don’t finish that novel. Take up Yoga? All that getting up and down at my age-ugh. TaiChi? It will take me years to get the hang of it, plus there’s the problem with my ankles.  The very idea of getting dressed, climbing into my car, to drive to a gym where I pay someone yell at me that I can do ‘one more’ is too terrible to even think about.

I think it’s something innate that leads us to self sabotage.  Maybe part of the Survival of the Fittest sort of thing?  Self defeating people would tend to thin the herd.  (‘We’ being the un-physically fit, socially awkward type and less likely to reproduce.) So it’s built in, this self doubt and the media plays on those very insecurities.  We see only perfect people on television, and we expect each other to be perfect and we make celebrities out of random odd people who keep getting married to thugs or having plastic surgery.  Definitely a ‘thinning of the herd’ type of thing.  And the way I see it, it’s our jobs as humans to break through the self doubt to change our lives.

We’re getting ‘dumbed down’ instead of ‘smarted up.’  We don’t teach our children to think.  We teach them what to think.  And only our schools teach our children, not the family, no society at large.  And outside of Sesame Street, television is getting dumber and so are we.  And less social.  We use ATMs and self checkout stands at the grocers so we don’t have to deal with other people.  Most people don’t even know what a paperback is anymore.  We have ereaders so we can play games while we’re on the toilet.  We get 300 channels on our televisions and are entertained by endless news casts, reruns, and ‘reality’ shows.  We have 52″ flat screen plasma televisions (with HD) and watch football games on the 5″ screen on our cellphone.  We shop online and wonder why it didn’t feel like Christmas this year?

Yet our motivation to better ourselves seems weak, if it is there at all.  Are you unmotivated

 Geshe Kelsang Gyatso
Geshe Kelsang Gyatso

because you’re depressed, or depressed because you’re unmotivated?  How do you stay motivated?  With the pride of accomplishment?  What about love who you are now?  I don’t need to wear the “right” fashion to be accepted.  I don’t need to drop 20 lbs.  Plenty of women are carrying far more than that.  Who’s looking at me any more any way?  This summer I bought a bikini for the first time in years, extra 20 lbs and all and went to the pool.  I figured, plenty of women go to the pool wearing less and weighing more.

How do you stop your brain from asking, “‘none of this will matter in 50 years,’ so just relax, slow down, enjoy your life, don’t stress about running marathons and eating gluten-free, polyunsaturated fatty foods.

I find it hard to maintain a healthy balance between things I should do and things I’d like to do, and things I have to do.  My motivation in all three is down to nil.  I just can’t work up the interest to care.  I like writing my blog, doing genealogy, and now I’m volunteering for other things at the dog shelter, like photographing the animals and keeping the animals updated on the website.  But after I volunteer I regret it, because I don’t know if I really want to.  You know, get all involved with people and rules and other weirdness.

I feel restless, like I’m letting my life pass me by.  But I am content to write my blog, read others’, Tai Chiexercise as much as I do, running errands, and in general being a housewife.  Though I am not content every day.  I’ll stick with Tai Chi.  Something I’ve always wanted to learn.  I understand it takes years to become expert and I’m not doing too much else with the rest of my life.  I’m trying to treat everyone with kindness and we know that’s not always easy.  I’m content right now–well, close to it– but will I become discontent next year, or next week?  Disappointed in myself?  Yes, and nothing will change.

At what point does contentment become acceptance?  And how much should I accept?

23 thoughts on “Motivation

  1. I feel somewhat like you do… I’m not happy with how things have happened this year…. While I should be concerned about losing some weight… I’m not motivated to try right now…. and I say so ??? I have been going through the motions of every day …not all bad days… but not exactly full of vim vigor and vitality either…. But I will remain hopeful that this new year will hold some positive changes…. Let’s hope together…. Diane

  2. I agree with a lot of what you said. It does seem that “we” don’t teach our children to think, we are less social, we have entirely too many channels and we often go out of our way to not have to interact with others. For many the motivation to better ourselves is weak, as you said. At the same time, I really do see many people working towards something better. I live in a ridiculously conservative area. I can’t begin to tell you how often I feel like an elephant in a goldfish pond. I was becoming more and more depressed a few years ago until I made a point to meet and interact with people who shared similar interests. I promise you they are out there. You have such an amazing heart and truly believe in things that I view as important in our world today. I guarantee you there are plenty of people around you who believe in and are working towards the same things. You tried lots of new things in 2013, and while nothing may have instantly brought you peace, I have absolutely seen something lift in you. The world is tough; I will never argue with you there, but continue to see that there is also SO much beauty and do your best to maintain your focus on this beauty. You have certainly enriched my life in 2013, as I’m certain is the case for many others who frequent your blog. I wish you the best in the new year, and I look forward to reading and sharing in your journey.

    1. You’re so nice for saying such kind things. This is who I want to be, this persona on paper. Little by little they are beginning to merge. I so appreciate your stopping by to read. Sending you thoughts of wonder for the new year.

  3. Linda, with this post you hit a bases-loaded Home Run! And the questions you raised made me reflect upon my life and what I would still like to achieve. Still, there are three words in a scene from the movie “Risky Business” (Tom Cruise) that more and more express the way I feel in many areas you have explored in your post. See if you can find the “three words” in the following clip!



  4. Such great thoughts to ponder, for all of us. Since I have been following you, I have witnessed you learn more and more about yourself and what is important to you. I admire all the things you set out to do (Animal Shelter, making new friends, etc) and the fact that you took the steps to make the changes you needed to. I know it’s a work in progress for all of us but you should feel proud. Here’s to a fantastic 2014.

    1. Thank you for your encouraging words. I am hopeful for a good year, for the first time in a long time, even though I will be losing my house this year, and learning to live on what I get from disability (about $15,000/yr). It will be as challenging as any year, but I look at it positively for the first time in my life.

  5. I sincerely hope that 2014 will be a better year for you and your family. I believe that in the months since I started to read your blog, you are becoming a stronger person. I know that this next year will still be a struggle but I am sure that it will be a year of moving forward.

    best wishes to you from one side of the pond to the other.


  6. I just learned that Darwin didn’t believe in “survival of the fittest.” Instead, he wrote about “survival of the kindest.” You said it yourself “trying to treat everyone with kindness.” Sounds like great motivation and great living. {{{hugs]}} Kozo

  7. You know, I have just started following your blog so I can’t respond similarly to some of the others, but how great is it that other followers have seen progress and growth. Perhaps you are just not giving yourself enough of a break?
    Whose standard are we all trying to live up to anyway?
    Good luck as you seek motivation but continue to do the things that you like … the blogging, the photography, the animals …and remember that one of your strengths is your frank way of speaking and communicating! I love that!

    1. Thank you LB for your kind comments. It had been a tough 2013, midway though the year to go through a suicide attempt. It’s been a long journey and I finally see light. The main battle is to keep going.

      Hope you continue to follow and enjoy my posts. I am checking out your blog as well.

      1. I did not realize that, Linda. And therefore I am so very glad that you can see the light and are pushing on.
        You have many strengths.
        Keep on!!

      2. I did not realize that, Linda. And therefore I am so very glad that you can see the light and are pushing on.
        You have many strengths.
        Keep on!!

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