The Second You Start to Take Something Seriously...

6.27.2014 loses all of its magic. 

It's been a while since Californication was worth quoting, but as I sat there loyally suffering through the last few episodes of its final season this past weekend, this line stood out. Hank asks his boss why he doesn't pursue his music outside of a hobby and this is Rath's rationale: "The second you start to take something seriously, it loses all of its magic."

I've battled with my creative energy my entire life. It can be all-consuming at times and during those times I begin to resent it because my need and desire to engage in creative endeavors feels like unproductive activity. And I'm a stress-addicted Millennial with 1.5 Master's Degrees and a guilt complex around wasting my time doing anything that doesn't produce "success" in some way for me.

I know, I know, first world problems, right?

Anyway, eventually, without fail, I try to monetize my hobbies. I enjoyed sewing so I started an Etsy store for tote bags that I made. I enjoyed writing so I went to Hunter to try and meet the right people and get noticed by an agent and make connections for a literary career. I enjoyed going to concerts and reading, so I started doing freelance music and book reviews.

Unfortunately, each time that I try to monetize something or "take it seriously," I become very overwhelmed by it. I get intimidated by all of the people who have been doing it better or longer than me. I take rejections harder, the hobby starts to become a chore. It usually ends with me giving up the hobby altogether because it stresses me out too much.

Over the past couple of months, I started to do this with this blog. A few opportunities came my way and I was able to make some money. And then more started piling up and I started getting very serious and equally stressed out about it. And then my best friend texted me and made a casual comment about how there had been so many sponsored posts and it hit me.

This blog had turned into a part-time job.

I didn't just write when or what I wanted to anymore... I had an editorial schedule with a purpose. Instead of using Motivation Monday posts as a vehicle for accountability for me and inspiration for my readers, I had to schedule them around fitness sponsors. Then I even stopped working out altogether and just posed in the clothes they sent me. I didn't have time to work out... I had to go to this networking event or that grand opening party. I had drafts of fun posts, like cheesy DIY projects I'd done, that I kept pushing out because I had paid posts to get up. I felt fake and stressed out and guilty.

Boo hoo. I'm making a small profit, partying and I get free stuff. It's dumb to complain about. But then something worse happened.

Motivation Monday: Running In the Dark


It's rare that I'll admit missing anything about living on the east coast but here I go:

I miss running at night.

In Connecticut, I just felt completely (maybe even naively) safe running in the town I grew up in. It was quiet and no one was out at night. If they were, you could see or hear them coming from far away. Then in Manhattan, it was the opposite: everyone was out at night and my Union Square/Midtown running routes were lit up and fairly safe. So running in the dark was something that I did often. Until I moved to San Diego.

It's not that my neighborhood here in San Diego is really unsafe per se, but there are a lot of bums, people living out of RVs that always tend to pop out onto the sidewalk and scare the crap out of me, and unlit corners and underpasses where I run. When I was training for the marathon last year, I used to tell my dad my route for night runs "just in case something happens." As you can imagine, my dad loved that.

Needless to say, when the marathon training ended, so did running at night. If it was no longer "necessary," it just seemed too risky compared to other exercise. Which is frustrating because it gets dark so early in the winter and in the summer it's too hot to run until the sun goes down.

But after getting the V.ALRT, maybe I don't have to be so scared anymore...