Today I wrote the mid term exam in English 240. Surprisingly, I felt pretty good about it. I wasn’t all that sure about the outcome because, as per usual, I experienced a great deal of test anxiety as soon as the clock started ticking. My heartrate went through the roof, my palms got sweaty and it was all I could do to focus on the task at hand without scaring myself into "Oh my Gawd, I'm going to mess this up!"
Nevertheless, it’s done, and I’m rest assured that since the exam is worth only 10% of our final grade, although it won’t get me honours, it will certainly not sewer my academic endeavour.
The in-class discussion to follow was really intrigueing, and took my mind off the exam results. This week we’re studying Romantic poetry. Wordsworth’s I’m Like a Cloud… and yes, it's as fluffy as it sounds.
This morning I had arrived at the U. around 10:15 to prep my quotations for the exam. Around about 2:20 my phone rang. It led to a much-needed coffee break across campus. (Although for me it was a water break, and that's going swimmingly... I feel much better for drinking water, not coffee and crappy sugary drinks)
A very brief discussion has had me thinking all evening. We talked of my business. The comment in question went something like,
“You haven’t been motivated by your business for as long as I’ve known you.”
And that’s pretty accurate. The business has just sorta “been there” to provide enough sustenance to get by to enable me to do some of these other things I’ve found an interest in.
Ask any of my friends who’ve known me for any amount of time, they’ll all concur that I’ve been in this funk for some time. Every so often I go off and try something “new”, but never really dive in to what’s supposed to be my bread-and-butter earnings.
Back at the end of January I got a bit of a spark. I called the troops together after that to assess the situation. Everyone’s on board to kick this thing into high gear… or more appropriately, A GEAR. I’m still not motivated. Could it be that this endeavour has indeed run its course? Is there another spark to be had?
On a personal note, there’s more. I recently clued in to another factor that’s been affecting my performance both at work and in my personal life. That is, personal relationships.
My last relationship came to a close in May of last year. I tried it again under another guise, if you will, in November. It didn’t work. It was cause for some introspective assessment. I’ve come to the conclusion that I simply don’t do relationships well. Now that may sound rather broad, and a bit like an over-generalization, perhaps even a bit harsh. I know that it takes two to make a relationship work - hence the term. More precisely, I think I've put my finger on something that I must address before I can move forward. I had this relationship that appeared to be doing just fine only, I focused too heavily on it. I had finally found something - someone - I was truly passionate about. But here in lies my downfall.
Years ago I focused on my business to the point that it consumed me. The same thing happened with this relationship.
It appeares to be a very fine line between happy, healthy passion and, well, overdoing it.
Admittedly, my passion for my livlihood, over the last number of years, has steadily dwindled. I must rekindle a love for working, progression and forward motion.
Today in my prep for the mid term exam I read a piece of literature from Mary Astell called “A Serious Proposal to the Ladies”. In it, she sells the idea of equality through education. You, an unmarried woman in the 1600s could achieve equality – even academic superiority - to a man by joining her “monastery” of sorts… a private school, if you will. I’ve included the entire text in the following entry, but looking past the feminist flavour, my thought on the highlighted portion is that education is freedom. It dawned on me that everyone I know who is "financially free" - all resources at hand, comfortable and happy - has a healthy amount of education behind them (a degree or two, for example.) This is not to say that all those who have a good education are financially sound, nor is it to say that not having an education equates to poverty. I thought about this all evening, and will likely give it some serious thought for some time.
Right now I’m feeling trapped. Trapped by the things that I initially feel will bring me the balance and freedom I so desperately want, but tend to over-work when I find them. I’ve struggled with financial freedom for some time, and although the horizon looks better all the time, it’s a painfully slow process to achieve financial abundance.
My “proposal” is this. Perhaps it’s time to stop considering all these things that aren’t returning and focus on what’s been proven to work time and time again: Slow and steady improvement through conscious focus on the goal.
The goal here is simple. In 1644 John Milton wrote, “Many a man lives a burden to the earth; but a good book is the precious life-blood of a master-spirit, embalmed and treasured up on purpose to a life beyond life.” Of course, in this context he is defending the freedom of the press to the English Parliament. Perhaps in Turtle terms, the goal of “freedom” lies in books, in education. Because right now I’m feeling something of a burden for lack of financial balance.
I need to reconnect with my business and spend some more time in education mode. Relationships will have to wait.