Driving nowhere

What is it in a person that causes them to work? Or, in many cases, what is it that causes them not to work – to be extremely lazy and unmotivated? What substance in the human body creates the inner drive to start and finish a big project, or to gain the motivation necessary to complete tasks that would never even get a second glance otherwise?

How long will it take for scientists – I’m envisioning a row of white lab coats pouring over Bunsen burners, here – to create a pill that will help focus my thoughts? How long until GlaxoSmithKline or Merck are announcing the release of Ambitionaze, a new wonder drug that sends my procrastination to the curb and allows my projects to be completed or, in some cases, started?

How long until the excuses are dropped? For millions of tasks there is no start date planned. There’s only a shifting landscape of reasons why they shouldn’t be started at all. The necessary drive to finish is buried beneath a blanket of unnecessary deeds – things that would never be interesting, things that couldn’t possibly take up a single second of time yet, because of the nagging tug of procrastination, become incredibly provoking and therefore waste precious project time.

Personally, I’m in a rut. Call it seasonal affective disorder, or call it spring fever – whatever. I’ve got little motivation. I can’t remember the last time I was able to start something that didn’t have a deadline, and even then I barely finish it before it’s due. At work, I’m useless; at home, I’m lazy. I have so many things that I want to do, but no drive. No desire. There are dozens of irons in my fire, but I’m letting them all flame up until they melt, disappearing into the blaze.

Why? I’ve got no idea. It’s not the weather. I’m not a great outdoorsy person. You’ll find me sitting inside more often than not, regardless of the temperature. You’d be better off searching for me behind this damned computer than you would be of catching me riding my bike, which is a place I could always be found a few years ago. No wonder I’m slowly growing man-breasts and looking worse and worse in my dress clothes.

I’ve got the time, but I’ve got little to show for it. Really, is there anything? A new blog with minimal action here, an iPod filled with songs there – nothing of note, to tell you the truth. And it’s not like I’m at a loss for things to do; I’ve got plenty. I’ve got taxes to file, stories to compose, magazines and newspapers to solicit, a bookstore to plan, an exercise bike to ride. I just don’t have the discipline to begin a long project that can’t be finished in less than an hour.

It’s rather disappointing to me.

So, to keep myself accountable, I’m enlisting the help of all of you – a grand experiment in blogging. I’m looking to force some accountability onto my life. I’m looking to you to help.

No, not each of you specifically. You as the collective public – the people that read this blog and the blog itself. What I’m doing is creating a to-do list that will forever be visible – forever a reminder of what needs to be done and how important it is to stop compulsively checking my MySpace account and start finishing some of my personal writing, or start riding that bike that I spent hundreds of dollars on.

This is how I address my lack of ambition. I call myself out – me and myself, outside by the flagpole, no gloves. I force myself to acknowledge the things I have to do by putting it out to the public. I’ve tried before, to no avail, but I think this time it could work. Now everyone knows what I have to do, and I know I can’t afford to ignore it anymore, lest one of you actually sees me in real life and asks about it.

So what needs to be done?

Let’s start with the bookstore. I’ve got the grand idea to start a business, but none of the groundwork has been done. I’ve got a business plan to attend to – rents to check, product to discover, and plans to develop. I’ve got the desire to open one, but no drive to do the piddley stuff.

I’ve also got two stories I’d like to write – two things I’ve been mulling over for a while now: a short story about visiting my grandfather this past month and the memoir of our Boundary Waters trip from a year and a half ago. Both are set up note-wise. I just have to fill in the holes between the notes – you know, the fun stuff.

Also, I’ve got this damned exercise bike – this piece of machinery that stares at me every time I sit around on the Internet. I’ve got the taxes. I’ve got magazines and websites to pester for random work. I’ve got aspirations to follow, dreams to make, yadda etc.

Now you know. And with this all out in the open, I’ve hopefully got no choice but to finally start getting rid of the random B.S. that I usually fill my day with and start doing something productive. Something that I’d be proud to say I spent my day doing.

I’m on the clock now. Don’t let me forget.

This was lovingly handwritten on February 7th, 2006