October 2017 update: This post is from June 2013. Subsequently, my long-distance relationship ended, I became agnostic (formerly Mormon in 2011–2014), I finished my Psychology B.S., and went on the graduate school in education and instructional design.
The hardest part about writing is staring at a blank screen and knowing you have something to say, but not how to get started. It’s far easier to read other peoples blogs or Facebook posts than to share your own voice. It’s also easy to judge other writers as simple or juvenile, without realizing that their writing isn’t meant for your benefit, but for theirs.
In a typical classroom, the focus is on the students, who greatly outnumber the teacher, and it is assumed the teacher is there for their benefit. However, the collective benefit to the students may be greatly outweighed by the singular benefit to the teacher. While most students forget most of what they’ve learned as soon as they write the required paper or take the required exam, the teacher is learning by teaching, not only by ingraining the material, but also by becoming a more experienced leader and communicator.
While people are equal in the eyes of the Lord, in a particular field or for a particular purpose the worth of one can outweigh the worth of millions. That is not to say the work of the millions is worthless, but perhaps that its greatest worth is simply for the enrichment and personal development of those individuals. For example, my skills at taking pictures or playing the piano may not be particularly impressive to anyone else, but they provide meaning to my life and occupy my time. While I make no money from them, I would not give them up for the world, because I enjoy them.
For people who are striving to make names from themselves, to create great works of art and to gain fortune and fame, it may be apt for many of them to realize their times have past. It is simply a mathematical improbability that they have enough time, talent, or motivation left to fulfill these dreams within themselves. Their focus must be on the next generation, for their strength and diligence would be better exercised in facilitating their children than facilitating themselves.
The perceived beliefs and actions of others are a powerful motivator. It’s very common to believe that you must perform work you do not enjoy to earn a living, because enjoyable work does not deserve pay and what you like to do isn’t practical or salable. If you simply replace this belief with the belief that many other people are getting what they want out of life, making opportunities as they see fit, and profiting abundantly while pursuing their passion, you will be driven to do the same. If you are an unhappy janitor, believing that “somebody has to do it” may provide you with consolation, but you could just as well be withholding a job from someone who actually enjoys janitorial work, which is a lose-lose situation. The United States is a free country, and just because certain work “must be done” doesn’t mean you have any responsibility or obligation to do it.
The passage of time can be called the great equalizer. Every creature and plant in this world, no matter how beautiful, will eventually return to dust. Every day I live will be forgotten, and everything I create will inevitably be destroyed. Why then should I be worried about what others think? In truth, other people usually give us far less consideration than we believe. The few that callously insult us, or emptily praise us, are really just projecting feelings about aspects of their lives onto our persona. They can safely be ignored.
Sporadic, concentrated periods of productive creativity often fall short of regular, disciplined work. Like shooting stars, creative episodes are bright and bold, but quickly fade away, leaving behind unfinished projects, forgotten paradigms, and nuggets of divinity which cannot be appreciated without context. Building a history of diligent work may produce far greater accomplishments in the long run, and there is no better time to start than now.
I have had the pleasure of falling in love with a beautiful and intelligent woman, who is a continent away. We are engaged to be married and I am moving to California in the summer of 2014 (after completing my B.S. in Psychology), since she cannot move to Florida. There is no greater joy than being reunited after months of phone calls and video chats, nor greater pain than being separated again. I feel so uncertain about moving so far away—I have so much of my family here, my possessions, my job, my home. I don’t want to work so many hours per day to support a family that I do not get to see them, but only secondary jobs may be available to me with so little experience and with such a common degree. But I also am incredibly happy and optimistic. I have never before found anyone who loves me like her, nor can I imagine any future where we are not in love.
How will our future play out? The habits and beliefs we exercise now are integral. How many could benefit by replacing idleness and passive leisure with active reading and fearless expression? Perhaps we are building skills, but not in the directions we want to go. Without clearly determining our direction at a young age, we may wind up without the expertise or means to accomplish our goals within this lifetime. However, the course we set in young age may not be the one that suits us in middle or old age. But as long as we keep moving, we will have a legacy to look back upon.