Things that didn’t happen

One: those book reviews I said would happen over the weekend. Didn’t happen.

Two: continuing my character-arc maps for Tallulah. Nope.

Three: catching up on all the study I was meant to catch up on last week. Decidedly not a thing that happened.

Four: keeping up my 1000 words/day commitment. That would be a ‘no’.

Tell somebody like me to do something and they’ll put off doing it just to prove that they can, because that’s human nature for ya.

Me – I’m stubborn. I like to be able to not do things, and even when I dedicate myself to doing it, I’ll still find ways to derail myself.

That says a lot about what I consider ‘dedication’ to actually be. I think I need a re-definition.

You say: “Hey, it won’t actually be that hard, and think of all the time I’ll save later on down the line!”

Love to; I’d love to do that, but seriously how about the alternative where I have free time now and do the work later?

Me – I’m good at convincing myself, because I’m also really clingy when it comes to my precious procrastination time.

More and more recently, though, I’ve not only brought this up and said that I needed to do something to change it, but I’ve then brought it up again later on with the same issue still firmly in place.

I was thinking a couple of days ago of who I thought I’d be when I grew up, what kind of habits I’d have and the kind of schedule I’d keep and all that. I thought I’d be a Responsible Adult – Responsible in the sense that I’d have a schedule that I could manage, that it would be filled with things that were both duties I had to carry out as part of the social contract where we all do out bit (yeah, we sure do that don’t we) but also things that pushed me forward, took me along the road to my aspirations, aspirations that I was too young and blissfully vague to really consider very deeply. The schedule being something that I could manage was also a part of this imagined future Responsibility that I would embody; I’d be somebody who knew what he was capable of and what he wanted out of life, and would build a life and goals around a healthy acknowledgement of that set of limitations and capacities.

At least I imagine that’s what I thought I’d be as an adult. I didn’t fantasise about it or aspire to it or anything; it was more just an image that I had. And our childhood ideas of what we’re going to be when we grow up are always based on some level of incomplete information, because, well, we’re not those adults yet. We aren’t in our adult circumstances; we can’t see the future for what it will be, only what it could be, what it looks like from our current vantage-point.

It still disappoints me, though, that I’m not that adult, and what I realised when I started reflecting on this was that I’d given up caring what kind of adult I was. I mean I am an adult; why should I care what kind of adult I am if I already am one?

But that’s the thing – I’m not. Nobody is. That doesn’t happen; we don’t get the Adult Stamp of Approval upon reaching the legal age of adulthood – it’s something that we have to decide for ourselves.

And what I’m starting to decide, what I’m starting to try devoting myself to, is doing my little kid proud. Because regardless of the fact that he was not in a position to really dictate what was and was not possible for his adult self, he still had some pretty great ideas. They’re ideas that I don’t think are beyond my capacity to achieve, either. And I honestly think I’d be happier if I gave it a shot, rather than just accepting things the way they are, because while I’m not miserable or anything – in fact all things considered I’m pretty enthusiastic about where I’m at – there is a certain lack of forward momentum, of progress. And of command over myself. I don’t think it’s possible to really be independent; we’re either dependent on our parents, or we’re dependent on our lovers, or our friends, or our employers and landlords/ladies and the public transport system and the police and …

And that’s not the point. That’s not the goal; that’s not how I think you become an adult. I think you become an adult when you find responsibility … not exciting, per say, but rewarding. When you find that your ability to commit to not just doing something, but to sustaining a habit of doing something, is something that you control and initiate, rather than something that just happens to you without you noticing. I think it’s when you start living intentionally, and when you take on responsibility because you can and it’s there to be taken up, and as much as it’s required to be a decent person and all that, you do it for yourself.

A lot of this is just the same old adulthood rhetoric that gets thrown around uncritically to inspire people to feel unworthy because they don’t feel like they’re in control of their lives, and I don’t mean it that way. We don’t have a lot of control over our lives, all things considered. We have some, but other people do, too, and the thing is that each of us is always outnumbered. We’re always only one, and one is not always enough.

The comfort and solace that I imagined a life of discipline would bring me when I grew up – I think that was reasonable to think based on what I thought adulthood meant at the time. It’s not something that translates so well when you’re actually there. It’s something that hasn’t happened. But I still think it could. I think that I could get closer to that goal, if I tried. A hell of a lot closer. Maybe even close enough. And maybe end up with something even better.

So I’m gonna try.

I have a lot of work to do this week. I have so many things I need to catch up on, and so many goals that I haven’t met. Rather than just giving up on them, because there’s still time, I’m going to just go do them. I need to do another character-map; I’ll get started on that tomorrow. I need to finish two readings tonight; I’m almost done with one. I need to do readings and watch a movie tomorrow; that’ll happen before I go back to Tallulah. I need to get back into exercising; I’ll do that between watching the movie and writing Tallulah, or if I happen to wake up early I’ll do it in the morning. It’ll be a full day and I won’t really have time for anything else, other than meeting a friend in the afternoon for lunch. But that’s my commitment. And I get the whole of Thursday off as a reward.

And I can use it to finish reading this selkie book that has a lot of the same issues as Beautiful Creatures, but while it isn’t quite as engaging as BC was, it does at least allay my fear that my use of the selkie mythos has not yet been copied in a book about selkies that I’ve read. Hell, maybe I’ll read Vampire Academy again as well.

And if I get to Thursday having done one day’s worth of actually making myself do the things I’ve set out for myself to do, I’ll have taken one step closer to that sense of fulfilling responsibility that I used to think was my destiny. I don’t think it’ll ever be that way. But that’s not the point. It can be something close. And it can be something I pushed for and achieved. I can re-define what it means to be me.

Is this post really about writing? I guess not. But that goal I wasn’t specific about as a kid – now that I’m an adult, that goal is being a published, career author. Somebody who writes books, and perhaps plays and movies and webseries and TV and songs, for a living. With a bit of acting, directing, drawing, music and various other stuff on the side. And it’s all part of that responsibility I used to envision myself taking up, only it’s real now. It matters more now, because it’s no longer merely hypothetical. It’s my responsibility to myself, to my aspirations, to my ambitions, to the life I want to live and enjoy while I’m living it, a life I can take responsibility for.

And I want to do it. I want to make it happen.

I guess this is growing up.

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