(excuse me while I go nap for an hour in between sentences)
I’ve said before that I don’t enjoy ‘conventional’ days off, in which people laze about and watch TV in their underpants; the lack of mental activity and feelings of completing tasks bores and annoys me, making me feel like I have wasted a day. That being said, this Christmas holiday has been one massive crash for me.
I’m not even playing Football Manager as much as I thought I would, because it’s too mentally stressful, even when results are going well, for my tired brain to comprehend; I’m spending the holiday wasting every day, until the evening rolls around and I can finish marathonning Battlestar Galactica and Sherlock with my family, before going to bed and starting all over again.
I think a reason for this was the amount of work I did last term; I’m not saying I worked harder than you, but I worked harder than I had done before for a prolonged period, getting through University applications, school work, further reading and God knows what else, for a solid four months or so.
And I was feeling burned out at the end of last term, getting lazy with my reading and the intelligence of my posts on here, and only scraping through doing the minimum schoolwork I had to. Sadly, that has continued this holiday, meaning I can’t do much beyond marathon old Job Hunters episodes.
This has meant getting back into working for school has been particularly difficult; despite only doing three subjects, and only having about five or so hours of work to do over the two weeks, I’ve managed to make it last as painstakingly long and end up disappointingly incomplete as possible; my ‘essays’ are just half-page crappy plans at this point that I’m calling ‘done’, but will require another two hours of work or so each within that first week back to complete on time.
But I’m okay with this; I’m realising that I’ll have about three hours of free periods a day at school because my Prefect work will stop, and I won’t have the added distraction of researching my interviewers and trying to decipher their philosophically mind-boggling essays on my mind too.
In the past, incomplete work scared me, to the point that I would pull all-nighters on something like a Tuesday, just to get all my work done as soon as I could; now, I don’t think my motivation to work has gone, but I’ve realised there’s a wall that, when hit, I can’t really do any more work of a decent quality.
I am aware of a trap here, in that I could either not do any work until the deadline with this realistic epiphany (as I think all teenagers do anyway), or could say I’ve hit my limit well before I have, and go off and play Pokemon Y. This is especially concerning when revising next summer, when all of the work done must be self-motivated; I’m in a position to go to a pretty fraking good University because I did a load of work in the past, and didn’t even consider there was a limit to the amount I could do; will my, seemingly understandable, realisation of this limit undermine my revision, which is based around multiple four-hour sessions a day, in May?
There is a more deeply concerning thing here, in that I may have hit my peak in terms of the work I can produce at sixteen, a worrying prospect for both University and real life; I might want to be a writer, a career which involves smashing your head against a keyboard for fifteen hours a day, every day for a decade to get half a book written, and so I worry if my metaphorical head-smashing days are now behind me.
I’ve long acknowledged the difference between conscious and subconscious motivation within my peculiar brain; the former is the basic desire to do the work necessary to reach a goal, while the latter is a series of deeper insights into the work that I’m doing, to understand the topic in a broad sense and on a more meaningful level; I had conscious motivation to work at maths, and so got an A at GCSE, but had not subconscious desire to understand it further, and so didn’t do it at A-level.
My concern is that I will simultaneously lose the conscious interest to slave away over a book for six hours in preparation for an exam, and the subconscious motivation to understand everything about that book because I really like literature and its analysis, losses that will leave me kinda screwed, both as an English student, and a bloke with a degree he’s not that interested in any more and thirsty grand’s worth of tuition fees to show for it.
I suppose only time will tell. If I get back to school and start my usual working routine again, I’ll probably not worry about this, and I won’t notice any difference between the kinds of motivation I feel until after school is completed and I’ll be able to look back at my time there without being a part of the specifically-focused whirlwind that is exam season.
And this pisses me off, because I want to know about me now, not wait to learn about seventeen-year-old James when he’s died and regenerated into twenty-year-old James. I guess I’m just impatient.
Oh, and I am aware of the laughable patheticness of this entire post, in that it shows my prioritisation of work above all else in my life, a prioritisation I agree with. I’m not sure why the importance I attach to work and thinking about work is so great – the theories I’ve had have been systematically disproved by real life events and epiphanies in the bath – so my simplistic, go-to answer right now is that I’m a loser. Any better ideas would be welcome.