It was an awful awakening when I realized there was something missing from my daily life that had always been there before. It was part of my routine along with brushing my teeth and saying good morning to those I love, but now, as the days carry on, it seems to be a distant memory of something I once did that doesn’t seem to be as important. This thought of losing a part of my daily life creates an emptiness that creeps deeper into my mind as I waste day after day not doing what had become second nature to me before it began disappearing bit by bit. It was the feeling I took for granted when everything was going great and I didn’t feel anything would change because life just seemed to be going as planned, but as time went by and new challenges arose; work, school, life and myself, that’s when my old friend I came to rely on wasn’t there to help me get through those tasks I could easily knock out before my day fully began.
Right now the motivation for two of my favorite activities is nonexistent. I haven’t been able to go out for leisurely runs in months and sitting down to write has become a chore. Why is it when you start to get comfortable with part of your life, and you feel you wouldn’t change a thing, you slowly drift away from what made you happy? Why would I allow myself to change what I enjoyed about life?
I used to love running. Getting up before the sun rose, lacing on my worn running shoes and hitting the empty sidewalks before most of Chicago awoke. It was the best thing I had going to help me be me. I would start my day by exerting my body and allowing my mind to free itself of any thoughts that had held on since the day before and race into my day with a fresh outlook. I’d meet the morning sun as it rose out of Lake Michigan and poured its pale morning light onto the city and feel its warmth as the waves crashed along the beaches. I was the city’s ambassador to the sun on those mornings and we had a great relationship; I would give him a nod as the first rays broke the surface and he would gently awaken the quiet streets I ran through. I felt it would never end.
Then injuries began creeping into my body and I began having to take days off to give my body time to mend and before I knew it I was taking weeks, then months off because I had in my head a thought that if I just took some more time off I’d be okay in the future, be able to run another day. I’ve made it to that future I was looking for and now I’m cursing the morning light as it breaks through my windows, moaning as I roll out of bed and barely making it to work before my shift begins. I no longer rush out my door and to the lake front to welcome the city and sun to a new day, I miserably trudge through my morning routine wishing I could stay put inside my sheets and grudgingly working my day away. How can something I enjoyed so much become my enemy so quickly?
This brings me to the second activity, my writing. When I wanted to I could sit down with a pad of paper, pen and a little time and hammer out pages of words with a flourish. My mind was a faucet pouring out sentences and paragraphs, pulling together story ideas and characters, creating a world in which I could build and interact with. I was free, excited and motivated. Now when I have a little bit of free time I’d rather sit at my table and look at sports scores or other people’s blogs wondering how they do it day after day, churning out posts about different topics that interest them and pieces of stories they’re working on. This activity of watching others do what they’re passionate about often stirs jealousy in me, making me angry others can succeed while I sit and stew in my world of pity.
I have stories to tell, I have things I want to share, but whenever I sit down to write my mind freezes and my hand quits moving. I know it comes down to just making myself do it, but when you start arguing with yourself about how simple it is to get words on the page and the unmotivated side wields its power and sends you slowly back to the chair, what are you supposed to do?
This is where I am right now in life. Struggling to find what makes me happy. I still have bits and pieces of happiness. I have a beautiful, wonderful, understanding wife who has stuck with me for twelve years now, putting up with my antics and indecisiveness; I have a job that has let me work part-time as I went back to school then hired me full-time once I graduated and my health, which at times I worry about because I don’t exercise the way I used to, but what I don’t have is inner peace. Because I have lost the one thing that kept me going day after day when I was going to school full-time and working 25 to 30 hours a week, juggling to find time to spend with my wife, work on my homework and training for a marathon and half-marathons. I have lost my motivation.