Security and Mediocrity

“No amount of security is worth the suffering of a mediocre life chained to a routine that has killed your dreams.” – Maya Mendoza

I love routine; I don’t love routine that feels confining. There are forms of routine that are liberating, it’s essentially those that are self-created. I believe that those people who want to set their own standards of work and play time and believe in their self-directive enough, will be able to achieve this state of routine creation. I started to notice some tangible indications that I was not meant for an enclosed, outside-directed routine on the following clues:

Feeling sick at work and from work. And yes, I mean I was feeling physically ill at work, from my temperature rising (literally), to chronic headaches and feeling flushed, to being unable to eat for long stretches of time. I think these are things that come with being type A and somewhat socially awkward in an office setting.

Feeling bigger than your place. Places are meant to be filled, and I would find myself completing my work tasks well and on time, all the while thinking of new story ideas and elaborate other thoughts. At work, with the continuous repetition, I would feel trapped and isolated, unable to truly feel like I could emerge from my drone state.

Perpetually feeling the outcast. With being around people, you start to learn their motivations and aspirations for the future. My dreams are wild and sometimes outlandish, so staying them out loud can make me seem silly, but that’s just how I like my aspirations, bold and untempered. I’ve found myself stating my goal out loud and getting laughing and critical reactions, and that’s one way I know those people aren’t open to me as an individual.

When mediocrity is at play, and you begin to feel that sinking feeling of being trapped every day, you have some options, including: continue on, and get out and make your own routine.

When to Quit

No, I’m not about to say never. Throughout the beginning of my adulthood, I felt an urgency to make things happen, to get things going, and to start living. But the issue was, I wasn’t doing any of those things. I was thinking about how I couldn’t do those things, how I was going to be doomed to living until something happened that let me do those things.  After years of internalizing my stagnation and taking my lack of progress to heart, I realized I needed to try something different.

That’s when I quit. I quit the things that were no longer serving to help me advance as a human being, emotionally, physically, spiritually, and monetarily. It meant saying goodbye to my job, an organization I’d been actively involved in, people who simply were a struggle to keep in contact with, and my notions about where I should be in life at that moment. I considered life just as it was, and went with the “no Fs given” approach, and then all of the sudden, amazing things began happening. I found a book that got me to think positively once and for all, I started writing my own, and I started tolerating and then liking myself.

I started giving the things in my life the Maya Angelou test:

“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.”

I’m no longer allowing myself to complain without action. That means, when I find myself complaining, and it happens, I tell myself I either need to change my attitude or I need to change my situation. All else is wasteful.

So yes, I’m a quitter. I’m a quitter of things that give me a bad feeling, things that I find unethical and immoral, things that harm myself and others, things that bring me little sense of fulfillment. In that sense I’m a quitter, but quitting those things brings me and has brought me more than I’ve imagined.

Keep Going and Forgive Yourself

One of the most crucial lessons that I have learned in attempting to tackle large projects or goals is pretty simple. Keep going and forgive yourself for missed days. You’ll hear this advice numerous times and it pretty much applies to all goals. I believe, and I’ll keep believing that working for my goal on a daily basis (or semi-daily if I can’t get to it) means I’ll achieve it. Keep going and forgive yourself go hand in hand, but can also be explained autonomously of one another.

Keep going. I think the saying goes “Rome wasn’t built in a day”, and to say that is to say that a goal isn’t achievable in a single day. It involves planning, positive thinking, bettering yourself for the accomplishment ahead, and persevering through the creation process.

Forgive yourself. When I used to miss a day of exercise, I would stop for a while, even months at a time. Now I’m a more regular runner, simply because I changed my mentality. I wouldn’t beat myself up for missing a day, or even a few days. The same goes for my creative goals, if I miss a day due to a headache or unexpected event demanding my time, I just get back to it the next day.