The always ongoing quest to find oneself.

You know my main problem? Consistency. Well, that and a failure to put myself “out there.” Oh! Those two things and a lack of work ethic. Oh! Those three things and….

I could go on. There are several things that bother me about me, but I’ll have you know, I’ve tackled those issues head on! For weeks at a time! Then promptly slid back into old habits. So often I find myself on the verge of a breakthrough. I can feel the brain churning, coming to a self realization that if I do things just right, a goal is obtainable. Yet, the drive wanes. I know I’ve even talked about having things figured out just a few posts back, yet feel like I haven’t made any progress since then.

Coming up with “aha!” moments where I see exactly what I need to do in life is my specialty. Actually carrying through on those visions, not so much.

I’ve often wondered where this disconnect between self realization and implementation stems from. For that, I’ll have to go back to my early schooling.

I was always a smart kid, you know. Grades came easy, recognition came easy. I seriously didn’t have to try well into middle school to achieve the levels of success I did. “You’re so smart!” They would say. Well hmph. I wish they were complimenting my work ethic (the house) more so than my smarts (the foundation). Sure, I had (have?) a good foundation to build up from, but without the drive and ambition to set things in motion, I’m left with an empty lot. Oh sure, it’s in an ideal location and quite sturdy, but you double take at the beautifully built house, not the ground it sits on.

In no way do I blame those around me for where I am today. In fact, I could be a lot worse off if it weren’t for them. All I know is that if I spawn a child, I’ll make sure work ethic is what is harped on. You don’t have to be the smartest tool in the shed if you have enough coal to keep a fire burning strong for years to come. I’ve wondered to myself, maybe this type of work ethic skips a generation? I would ask myself this after watching my pops go go from having no degree, to being near the top in his field due to getting his hands dirty and putting in the time, to me….doing….not that. His motor seems to be always going, as he would turn his efforts to chores around the house right after a 9 hour work day. Always improving things around him. Me? I would offer a hand of help, breathing a sigh of relief if it was met with indifference as I turned back to my video games.

So here I was, a bright kid, breezing through school. Unfortunately, as I grew, so did my insecurities. I found myself rejecting any sort of attention. I had no intent of being modest, but instead I didn’t want to think myself a person capable of being worthy of praise. Pretty dark for a kid in middle school, I’d say. I think this is another way that I’ve held myself back. Early on, I was ambitious in areas. Hell, I remember running for student council. Standing in front of my peers, squeaking out in a barely audible voice (even with a mic) on why I should be a representative. Yet, somewhere between my crippling self esteem and lack of work ethic, I found myself confiding in the shadows. I dropped out of the honor roll, wouldn’t speak up in class even when prompted, and any work that didn’t come naturally easy to me, I would avoid. I never challenged myself. I never wanted to be put on the spot. I never wanted to see what I was capable of.  This worked for me, as I could still half ass my way through high school, and that is just what I did.

Then….life happens. And you realize that, just like anything else, the output is directly related to the input. Refusing to accept my situation as my own doing, I blamed everything I could for a while. I blamed my hometown, and bolted twice in three years in hastily made plans that have set me back for several years and counting. I blamed my parents, even though they were the only ones to support me at my worst, and I owe a great deal to them. I blamed life and everyone around me, cursing them for moving forward, although all that did was make me bitter.

Yet, I see the error in my ways now. I’ve always been a late bloomer, in just about every aspect of life. Finding personal success and happiness may just yet be another area where I take quite a while to find traction. I can see this happening, as I can now see the areas of myself that need improvement. Every day, I feel like I get a little closer to who I’m supposed to be. Every day, I have a little more clarity to see the path in front of me. These days, I find myself doing what’s best for me, more often than not. But still, it’s not enough. I need to be doing the right thing every day. But it’s so difficult!

My entire life has consisted of coasting, getting by with the most minimal of efforts. Never challenging myself. Never wanting to stand out, even at times when I wanted to. These self realizations that I keep having are good, as they keep the path in front of me. These bad habits and lack of drive are the overgrowth that impedes my path. I just have to keep hacking at it, going one step at a time. I may not see all that is in front of me, but I have to believe that I’m going the right direction.

After all, what I’ve done for ~25 years isn’t living, it’s merely existing. And I’m keen to change that.

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