What happened?

[Disclaimer: There’s quite a bit of self-pity and navel-gazing below. Understand that I’m only sharing this to help move past my current slump. It’s getting ridiculous, and personally, I’m sick of it.]

Why were the first few months of my life in Kingston so great? I was busier in the fall of 2006 than I’d ever been up to that point, and indeed, than I’ve ever been since. I participated in hockey and judo, I took a full slate of difficult courses, and I made time for friends I’ve long since drifted away from. In spite of all this, my artistic productivity was at its height. I still had my down days – down weeks, even – but I always managed to make up for the time I took off.

It’s six years later, and I’m lucky if I can force myself out of bed come morning. My assignments sit unattended to, my books remain unread, my guitar is horrifically out of tune, and my tablet has a layer of dust on it that would make Mr. Clean shriek. In my second and third years, I’d make the excuse that I just had too many interests and goings-on to allow myself to be too involved in any one area. In my fourth and fifth years, I decided that describing myself as “easily distracted” would provide the best defence against the busy-bodies who seemingly surrounded me.

Now, I don’t know what to think. I’ve tried setting rigid work schedules, but, like bad diets, they always break down. I’ve tried implementing a reward system, depriving myself of the fun things I usually love until my work’s completed. No luck; my eyes soon drift from the text- or sketch-book’s pages, and I sit for hours, staring listlessly at my wall. I go for walks, I work out, I switch my diet, I eliminate distractions; the results are always poor. I feel like I’m running out of things to try.

I feel there might be some value in looking back to what made me (feel) successful earlier on in life. I was ambitious, and approached everything like I had a point to prove. People who know me might laugh at such a suggestion, but it’s true. I started drawing because I wanted to be like my favourite web-comic artists. I bought my guitar because I wanted to be a rock-star. When I played hockey, I honestly thought I could make the varsity team if I put in a bit more effort. Until they got out-of-control, my first-year courses made me feel – with genuine enthusiasm – that I could indeed be a physicist, mathematician, archaeologist, film director, or even the goddamned prime minister.

I wasn’t an idiot; I knew that I couldn’t possibly meet all of the above-listed expectations, but I wasn’t about to give up on any of them until the doors of opportunity were closed with definite authority. The years moved on, many of my perceived “doors” were closed, and a hailstorm of setbacks dented my enthusiasm. By the time I crossed the stage to receive my diploma, I had effectively lost all interest in, well, everything. I was finished with setting myself up for perpetual frustration and disappointment.

I used to have fun trying to impress people, and I liked the idea of being a late-blooming underdog. Now, I just wish I could focus on something, anything, long enough to make an appreciable move forward.

But that’s enough moaning from me for one evening. I know I’ve got an easy life, and I know I’ll land on my feet – I always do.



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