put pen to paper

Random thoughts from the last few weeks. Not very coherent, although one of my goals for this year is to write more on this blog (hopefully at least once a month) so despite this being posted on the last day of the month, it still counts!

I feel as though there are two types of people – the one that, upon getting lost, will keep calm and enjoy the scenery while they get back on track, and me — the type of person that has a bit of a breakdown when they don’t know where they are and will try their best to find their way back as quickly as possible.

I went to Japan towards the end of January and spent three weeks there. Although I had an amazing time, I was happy to be back home in my own bed (and bathroom). Being in a foreign country, it was inevitable that there were times when we would get lost (even with Wi-Fi and Google maps which isn’t always so reliable, really).

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This is a photo of Gion, in Kyoto, Japan. I was extremely upset on this day because of my lack of planning. We also got lost trying to get home.

I wish I could be the sort of person that didn’t mind getting lost.. I wish I could be more like the romantic explorers that I read about or that I see in movies – just taking a step and breathing it all in and seeing where I end up, embracing adventure and opportunities and the unknown.

I write about this topic a lot, but this is how my life feels a lot of the time. Upon returning back, it was difficult for me to settle into my daily routine simply because it did not exist anymore. I had already finished the course I enrolled in last year and I had two casual jobs at the time. I hadn’t really planned at all what I wanted to do after I came back to Australia except for a game design course I had in mind (which unfortunately isn’t running this year, leaving me at a loss). There are times I’m not even sure I have a job anymore.

At my age, I seem to be surrounded by people who are either a) almost done (or finished) with their studies and are starting their careers or b) are set on what they want to do and are continuing to aim for their goals. And I’m…. nowhere near either of these! People might say I’m still young at 21, but in reality I’ve been out of high school for at least 4 years. I can say I’ve made progress, but I can’t say I’ve really moved forward. The prospect of going to university right out of high school and then getting a 9-5 full time job has always and will likely always scare me. I don’t want to be stuck in a job I don’t like, and I think that’s what’s keeping me from moving – because I’m scared that every path (even the ones I’m interested in) will take me to the same destination.

Instead of being scared and frightened that I don’t have a plan,  I wish I could see my circumstances in a more positive light — really I’m very blessed to be where I am with a family that takes care of me, a roof over my head, food to eat every day and a bed to sleep in every night.

What I also have is a clean slate, and I think that’s what frightens me most.

Today I was watching a video by Jazza, a talented artist who makes videos on YouTube. In this specific video, he discusses from an artist’s point of view why looking at a piece of blank paper can seem so intimidating. He explains that this is because artists often have expectations of what they want on that piece of paper – and most of the time, these expectations are so high that we start doubting ourselves and become scared of not being able to reach these expectations. So that piece of paper stays blank.

I love this analogy he uses that not only applies to artists, but to every career and every dream out there. His solution is simple: just start.

The really exceptional artists out there that you and others really admire didn’t get to where they are and have the acclamation that they have gained because they have three dozen pieces of paper with amazing pieces of artwork on them. They got to where they are because of the thousands upon thousands of pieces of paper that they filled with mistakes, with ideas that they tried and failed, and potentially even scrunched up and threw in the bin. It’s not the few pieces or artworks of theirs that you have seen that makes then exceptional and talented, it’s the thousands that you haven’t.

I know life isn’t exactly like this. I know you don’t get unlimited do-overs if you screw up or end up somewhere you don’t like. I know it’s not always easy to start again. Yes, I know there are times when you have to settle with what you’ve made for yourself. But in this moment, I’m blessed enough to be in a position where I feel as though I still have an entire notebook of blank papers if I mess up.

Over these past few years it feels as though I’ve been filling up these papers slowly with different things. I’ve started drawing and then stopped halfway and left them somewhere in a box to collect dust. I’ve drawn something and decided that I didn’t like the outcome and thrown it away. I’ve started a piece of work and decided it wasn’t worth the effort anymore. I’ve done something half-heartedly and have become complacent. I’ve scribbled down some ideas but didn’t take the time to turn them into anything..

And now I’ve turned the page again and am faced with a fresh piece of paper and a new idea. I’m scared because my expectations are high and if I don’t like the outcome, I won’t know what to do and I’ll feel so lost again… But regardless of how this turns out, I know that it’s high time I put my pencil down instead of just talking about doing it, because having something on that paper is better than having nothing at all.

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