Thursday, March 08, 2007

Vive la resistance

Merlin Mann writes about the book The War of Art and paraphrases a section of the book as such:

Resistance can be thought of as anything that pulls us away from doing the work we know is most important to us. It takes many forms (including procrastination, fear, distraction, and negative self-talk), but the effect is often similar: we find or permit all kinds of barriers to keep us from becoming the person we want to be, or from completing the thing we really want to make. Whether that’s being a published author, a composer, a playwright, or a painter, our impulse to create constantly battles an impulse to do something else, or to do nothing — to not upset our weirdly comfy stasis.

I've been feeling this pull a lot as of late. It's led me to do things that make me simultaneously (1) ridiculously relaxed and happy and (2) screwed with respect to work I need to get done. Basically, I'm being selfish. In a way I've never been selfish before. In a way that puts my happiness above... whatever else I might have worked for before. See: the last two posts, which were me getting my learnin' groove on without regard to anything else in the world. I learned a ton. I did a lot. I taught some folks stuff, I learned plenty from other people, I was ridiculously happy... and utterly ignored my assigned work for 4 hours I couldn't afford.

It's been great while it's lasted, but really, it's got to stop; I'm screwing over so many other things this way. For instance, classes. I should start doing well in them again. I'm trying to find a way to simultaneously be happy and graduate without "selling out" - there's got to be a way to work within the (very loose!) constraints I've been given and not feel constrained by them.

Note to self: asking yourself what do you want? is possibly one of the most dangerous things you can do. Because sometimes you start doing them. That's kind of scary. And kind of cool. And very hard to deal with.

Another sidenote: with regards to the traveling around the world thing, I think "ethnomethododology" is what I'm going for - I want to describe how people create the subsociety of engineering education that they live, work, and study within, in their own words.

I need some time to clear my brain, but I'm not going to get that time for another week and a half. I'm looking forward to spring break; I'm getting far away from civilization. That is to say, my mother is coming over and we're going to a spa in the Berkshires - my first time at a spa, so I'm not sure what to expect - and I'm not going to bring my phone, I'm not going to bring any books, and I'm debating whether to bring my laptop (no internet; it's just that sometimes I think really well when I'm typing stream-of-consciousness). My mom sleeps a lot more than I do, so during the nights it's just going to be me. Thinking. Creating a little space.

2 comments:

Gui C. said...

"See: the last two posts, which were me getting learnin' groove on without regard to anything else in the world. I learned a ton. I did a lot. I taught some folks stuff, I learned plenty from other people, I was ridiculously happy... and utterly ignored my assigned work for 4 hours I couldn't afford."

Welcome to the brink of my world. The event horizon is terrifying, but once you step past it, it's a wonderful existence :)

Mel said...

Ah, but for me, that way lies selfishness. Not that I would not serve others at all, but that I would serve them more as an indirect way of serving myself; I would take priority, and I don't want that to happen. (It happened, it's happening, it's happening less now as I slowly work to subside it.)

I want to be free to be of service, if that makes sense. And at the moment, I am being free to be selfish. (One can also be bound to be selfish, or bound to be of service; I was previously the latter.)