During this pandemic, I find myself with a few extra hours every day from not commuting to work and no social gatherings to attend. While this time is great to catch up on all the responsibilities I’ve neglected as I was ‘living life,’ there comes a point where I’ve fulfilled those obligations and have extra time to do… anything. I’m at that point.
It took me a while to get to this point, maybe because I just had so much stuff I needed to do and learn, but I reached this point about a month ago and I’m feeling restless. During the weeks leading up to this point, I found myself trying to keep busy by doing trivial things like pouring over my travel plan for my Portland trip in a month or creating organizational docs to satisfy my self-diagnosed OCD (but in reality it’s to have something to do). Now that I’ve exhausted everything I can possibly do and be interested in doing, what next?
I’ve been pondering how to stay motivated, and I think it comes down to two concepts – consistency and novelty. Both of which I need to make me feel excited and energized.
Consistency is the easier part of the equation and is something I think I’m pretty good at. I need some kind of constant in my daily routine to remind me it’s a different day. On the other hand, the worst feeling for me is to feel that the days all blend together and I’m just in a monotonous cycle. Another way to describe it is that I don’t want to live in grayscale, but I want some color and excitement on a regular basis.
For me, the consistency exists in the form of physical activities. I’ve always been active, maybe too active at times, but it’s a way for me to reset. Every day, I do some form of physical exercise and since COVID started my routine has been alternating between running and HIIT. I love the endorphin boost from finishing a sweaty and grueling workout and as odd as it sounds, I feel reenergized afterwards.
Novelty, on the other hand, is the part I’m struggling with. I think of this as either having the opportunity to experience something new (literally what novelty means) or being creative and creating those opportunities. Living in different cities across California, and soon the Pacific Northwest, is definitely a new experience and one I’m super excited about, but it’s not like I’m going out every night to explore. There’s still sooo much time from when I end work to when I sleep that I can be doing stuff. This free time and my creativity drought is what’s killing me.
Most people would probably appreciate the free time to just relax, but I’m a restless person and I always need to be doing something. I’ve learned investing, started and gave up on learning Spanish, and now I have a vacuum to fill it with creative ideas. I spend more time on photography on the weekends so I can edit them during the weekdays, but that takes maybe one or two days. I planned out my vlog idea (I’ve yet to actually film it) this weekend, but now I’m waiting to do something exciting on the weekend to film it. What other creative ideas can I do that will keep me busy and interested?
Maybe I just need to do it. Then I’ll at least know if it’s something I like or not, if it excites me, or if it gives me new ideas to try. Maybe the epiphany here is that I should spend less time on the ‘planning’ and more time on the ‘doing,’ since the ‘doing’ may spark novel ideas for me to try. And once the ball starts rolling… it becomes harder to stop (is that how the saying goes?).
Anyway, I started vlogging and have made 3 vlogs so far! At first I was hesitant on vlogging because I don’t do exciting things everyday and let’s be real, who would want to watch me in a vlog?! But I realized it’s sometimes the monotonous everyday things that actually make for an interesting story and make me more relatable with all my 10 viewers on YouTube. My goal is to create one vlog each week to keep the creative juice flowing and have something to look back on in a few years. :)