How many times have you sat there, hands poised over the keys or pencil hovering above the paper, awaiting inspiration, but becoming less and less motivated the longer it takes to appear until you finally just give up and switch back to whatever you were watching on Youtube or Netflix?
I have done this so many times, and I always end up telling myself that tomorrow or next week will be better. That, once the current storm of school work and social engagements has passed, then I will take the time to do what I am passionate about. Of course, that storm never ends, and before long, it's been months since I've actually created something original, whether it's a drawing, a painting or just free-writing in a journal.
We are constantly under so much pressure from the world around us. We have jobs, friends, families and professors and all these people have different requests. Many of these things may not seem all that troubling by themselves, but all these little tasks add up and, eventually, we are often left mentally drained. This has been an issue for me for a while, but it has gotten a thousand times worse in college. With all of the new experiences to be had and work to be done, I know that my life has changed drastically from the way it was when I was in high school.
Even though this is a good thing in many ways, I have noticed that the things that I am truly passionate about have started to slip to the back of my mind in favor of things that I am being forced to do. Instead of unwinding by writing down my thoughts on finding a photo and sketching out the image in my sketchbook, I find myself mindlessly watching TV shows--anything to disengage my mind. While I do believe that letting your mind rest is very important, sometimes the best thing to do, at least for me, is to force yourself to engage in something that you're passionate about--something that makes you feel accomplished when you're finished.
Don't get me wrong. Taking a night off and going to sleep as soon as you're done with homework is a great way to spend a night. However, for me, nothing compares to the exhaustion that comes after knowing you've made something that you're proud of, and even if it's not your best work, we all learn from every mistake that we make. So next time you're putting your headphones in, opening that new tab and moving your mouse up towards that Netflix icon in your favorites bar, think twice about the satisfaction that you could be getting out of making something new that's never been done before, and doing that with your own mind and your own two hands.