Motivation Missing: Reflections on the Past 11 Months

I need something to look forward to. A personal goal to strive toward. I’m too easy on myself. Too content with past accomplishments. Too hesitant to kick myself in the butt. Too fine with engaging in little stuff that doesn’t add up to the total of what I want. Too focused on temporary things. Too available.

I need my focus back.

It’s weird because I have not always been like this.

Through college, I gripped the nape of my neck and forced myself to be the best. I didn’t mess around with too much extra, meaningless stuff. I was focused and as a result I was accomplished. I didn’t graduate Magna Cum Laude, active in campus media outlets with two prestigious internships by being over-involved in things that bring immediate satisfaction and under-involved in my personal goals. So why am I doing that now?

My life was rocked last year. There is no denying that. And when I think about it now (something I cannot do without unsuccessfully blinking back hot tears), I realize I was angry. Mad at my dad for making my “unsinkable” life look like the Titanic. Bitter at being forced to sign on the dotted line for a life that I did not want. Shocked at life’s ability to just shift without my say so. Awed at the indescribable pain that abandonment brings. Frustrated with my feelings of helplessness. But mostly I’ve been sad. Not like a sad that comes from watching a dog die in a movie or even the sad that comes from enduring a harsh word from someone I love. It’s a deeper sadness than that. One that manifests itself in tantrums and isolation or even in laughter and excess.

I feel like I’ve been walking around in a daze. Directionless. I’ve been busy but not doing anything, walking but not making progress, thinking but not realizing, acting but not motivated.

It’s like I just stopped.

I keep making easy, rookie mistakes that are nothing but the result of an unenthused attitude, at times laziness, passivity, and an overall lack of attention and follow through.

I admire how I used to be with no plan on how to reconcile my former over-achieving self with my current busy self (two completely different things).

Something has to change. I’ve prayed about it lately and asked God to restore my energy, vitality, motivation and drive.

I feel like I am getting ready to run in a track meet, someone swiped my starting blocks and I can’t run — not because I need starting blocks to run — but because I keep looking back at where the blocks were supposed to be and even when I’m looking straight ahead, I keep thinking that I can’t believe the blocks weren’t there.

I set the table with a buffet of my dreams, complete with what I want to carry out, yet I make no move to sit down at the table. Instead I am eating crumbs off the kitchen counter.

This just isn’t me.

I am normally exploding with ambition, borderline obsessive when it comes to my drive. Now I feel like I look at my dreams like one flipping through an old photo album — wistful, but with the full knowledge that that time is over. And it shouldn’t be like that. I’ll mull over something in my head for a minute that I want to accomplish, but I let the thought go just as easily as it came with no move made towards it. It shouldn’t be like that.

I’m just getting started.

I think it’s unfair to myself to say that I haven’t made any progress. But I need something. I don’t even know what that something is. I need my “oomph” back. My belief that life can work out as planned and even better. I need to decide that nothing happens to me outside of God’s Will and there are other ways to work through my grief that don’t involve staring into space or running around over-committed to things that don’t matter. I need to be reminded that I cannot shield myself from bad things happening by not expecting anything good. Since my dad died, it’s like my only goal in life is to survive. I’m surviving, but that’s it. Instead of living my life with my focus only on the next five minutes, I need to use my grief “as the steam to power my dreams” (cue Kanye).

This is my life and I need to make something of it.

One thought on “Motivation Missing: Reflections on the Past 11 Months

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  1. Alissa, this rings sooo true to me too. I didn’t even realize it’s how I felt until I read it. My dad died when I was in college, and I think I quit then. People often say “just do what it takes,” but that’s not always good enough- it’s rarely good enough, and not at all what either of our dads would have been okay with.
    Good for you for recognizing this place in your life. Good for you for allowing yourself to have it. But better for you for asking God to bring you out of it quickly.


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