James, Amelia and True North

Photo by Rushina Morrison on Unsplash

Too often, we fall into an all-or-nothing cycle with our habits.

The problem is not slipping up; the problem is thinking that if you can’t do something perfectly, then you shouldn’t do it at all.”

James Clear

This is by far the biggest, most relevant motivation I got this year.  

Why I’m like most people.

I struggle with motivation and discipline too. There are days when I get stuck and I can’t seem to find a way through. So I just stop and abandon things until I wake up one day wanting to pick them up again. 

That has always been the cycle. The only task I consistently show up to, is well, anything that relates to my day job. I’ve got to eat and pay bills. Apparently, that’s enough motivation to get myself to pull up a chair, open my computer and tick off tasks on my list soon as I get them done. But when it comes to personal things that I claim I’m passionate about, it’s always a journey through peaks and valleys.

Partially, I can justify my actions. When you write, you have to take a pause sometimes and allow real life to catch up. This is especially true when you draw inspiration from actual experiences you either went through alone, with others, or by people you get to talk to some days. So for the past 3 weeks, I did just that, live life and create experiences I can write about.

The Trade-Off

I sold the last piece of musical instrument I had. What gave me comfort is finding a home for these instruments in people I know will use and treasure them like I once did.

So goodbye my “Amelia”, my Ed-Sheeran signature divide.  

I must admit, life without music is dull. Listening to songs is entertaining but creating or producing pieces is pure joy. The week after I sold my guitar, a friend and I have covered two songs using karaoke music. Then the following week, I couldn’t help but buy myself a Ukelele. It’s fun to learn, it’s cheap, I can carry it around and play it anywhere, (even inside a food court)! It doesn’t attract unnecessary attention, which I like.

Days after, we covered “Emmylou” of First Aid Kit, the Ukelele is finding its way to my heart.

Back To Writing

After a 3-week hiatus I know I needed to go back to writing. Thinking about it while I was in the shower was already making me feel excited. Like music, writing, if it were a place, is my true north. Or, let me say it the other way. True north is anywhere I get to be alone with music and writing. Both activities settle my heart like no other. I know right between the notes and words my soul breathes like I’m fully alive. If only I could do these things forever without having to worry about putting food on the table.  

This is not to say I detest my job. In fact, I love it because it allows me to do the things that I love to do. I work to get paid to do the other things that inspire me to create and contribute to the art side of the world.

So James Clear, if you ever get to read this, thank you for the encouragement. Even if I do miss some days without writing or doing music, it doesn’t mean I need to abandon these interests. After all, these are two of the few things that make my heart beat, like I’m fully human.

As I find comfort in James’s words, I hope you find the grace and humility too, to pick up where you left off and finish what you started. Don’t even think you’re doing it for somebody. 

Do it for you. 

Do it because you want to. 

Do it because it’s important to you.

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