On intrinsic motivation and other concepts of importance

This is a reckoning with all the things I recognized about myself 10 years ago, but was unable to express.

There were a lot of concepts that I was aware of. One of them is a lack of concept of ‘home’, or ‘friendship’. I remember pondering these words over and over and over for their meaning. Another one was the concept of ‘intrinsic motivation’. I distinctly remember recognizing that I didn’t really want to do any of the things I was doing. I always felt that there was a shitload of things I “had” to do. But there was not much I wanted to do. I’m not talking about washing your clothes or doing the dishes. I’m talking about things like hobbies, social life, vocational choices. I made choices because I that’s what you do, choices had to be made. But I didn’t feel motivated. Not for anything that counted as ‘contributing’… I used to enjoy watching cartoons, early in the morning. I used to enjoy reading, before secondary school came along and reading was no longer associated with enjoyment, but instead with “writing down what a teacher approved of” and “hurrying up to finish reading it in time before the deadline”.

I was a relatively slow reader. Not that I had difficulties reading, mind you. Not at all. But I think what I did as a child.. I savored it more. I would take my bloody time about it. In secondary school I wasn’t “fast enough” to get the reading done within the allotted time. I remember panicking that I had to figure out some way to read faster, to hurry up, to rush it! Fuck, I’m too slow!! My reading ability has truly suffered. I mostly noticed this later, in my adult life, when reading in my spare time again. By reading ability I mean the ability to sit with a book and explore it. I have read most books in English, which isn’t my first language. Inevitably, you encounter a word you don’t know. After secondary school, I always felt like I couldn’t take the time to look up a word in an online dictionary. I should just skip over it and get on with it.

Always being in a rush, always in a hurry. The problem is, I have the stamina to do it. I can force my body into a mode where I just go on with it. Until I can’t do it anymore and then I’ll collapse in silence, at home, while to the outside world I’m still standing upright.. Basically, I’ve never taken the time to figure out the things that need figuring out. People would push me forward and I would push myself forward, relentlessly. “You should have figured this out by now” was the message. I got it from others, and I sent it to myself. Suck it up and move on.

I haven’t figured it out at all. I haven’t taken the time to do so, actually. This time around, I’m going to take the time to figure it out. My position on the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is pretty unstable, as it is right now. There are a lot of topics that need addressing.

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