What’s Holding Back and What’s Pushing Forward

Over and over again I keep revisiting this post by Joshua Greenwood of Sake and Geishas about the power of decisions. It really spoke to me, because I have been afraid to choose one path; afraid that by going through one door all the others would close; afraid that I had to either seize ALL the opportunities…or none of them. But now I understand that that’s not how it works. As Joshua says in his post,

“But possibilities aren’t solutions. Decisions are.”

When doors are opened, it is up to me to walk through them. It’s amazing to me how closed-minded I have been about this until now. I’ve felt that if I focused too much on one thing, I would never again me able to do the other things. (For example, Japanese vs. art, rather than Japanese + art working together harmoniously.) But living everything at once is extremely tiring and takes the joy out of a lot of it, I think. 🙁 It’s hard to imagine not looking forward to drawing, but when boxed in so tightly by things like deadlines I’ve set myself to complete something that actually takes longer to complete, it becomes very difficult–even painful–and that’s what accounted for a lot of the procrastination that occurred within those time frames.

While this is sort of a continuation of another post, it stands on its own as another post where I’m realizing things and reflecting on things…

There are always many facets to everything, and with going to study at a Japanese language school in Japan, it is no different. Along those lines, I think there have been things both holding me back as well as things pushing me forward.

Things holding me back:

1. Money. Yes, going overseas to study tends to be more expensive than staying at home and studying.
2. Time. I’ve been told that I’m not going to go to Japan alone! I’m totally fine with that, but when will it be possible for one of my parents (for example) to take off from work for a full month to go with me? What would they do while there? How would I spend my free time there?
3. Fear. I will admit I’m the type of person who feels like I have to know everything before I do anything (it’s very detrimental to actual progress, the mother of excuses and a friend of procrastination), and when combined with a fear of not being able to communicate well or not knowing what to do in a situation, it is definitely bad news.

Things pushing me forward:

1. Interests. Self-explanatory! XD The things I like about Japan or that come from Japan~
2. Other people’s progress. Seeing others improve in their Japanese, and/or go to Japan really make me want to go along too. They make me want to try harder. They aren’t my rivals exactly, but sometimes inspiration? Reminders to keep going?
3. Not wanting to fail. I think this is actually a big part of it. I’ve come this far now, so why should I suddenly give up? I can’t let all of my efforts go to waste!

This vs. That

While I’m tempted to end this post here, it doesn’t feel right ending it simply by listing things. ^^; Perhaps I should do what I usually do and work through the questions I ask myself by typing them out next.

The positives versus the negatives; the pros and cons; all of these things battle each other for the deciding vote on what should take place.

→Money vs. Interests
We all know that your money goes into what you really care about. You learn a lot about a person by what they spend their funds on. I think my problem with Money vs. Interests is twofold: first, I tend to hold onto money and not spend it right away. Don’t get me wrong–that’s a very good thing! I’m definitely not an impulse spender! On the other hand, though, I tend to hold onto money in fear that I’ll need it for something else and won’t have it if I “spend it now”! Look at that! it’s fear talking after all!

Solution: Prioritize my interests so that when I want to buy something, I know exactly what it is and won’t second-guess myself in spending the money for it. Give freely to God and trust completely that he will provide–since if I’m afraid I won’t have, then I’m not trusting God to provide it regardless, and that’s not good. So, have faith!

→Time vs. Other people’s progress
One thing I see commonly in those who make the kind of progress in their Japanese (and/or art!) that I want to make is they put a lot of time into it. It’s not one hour of studying a day; it’s studying every chance they get, filling empty time slots with dramas, podcasts, literature, conversation, Anki reviews…anything to further their progress! Even busy people working all day, people who go to school and have to deal with homework and papers and stuff…they find time to study as well as time to apply what they’re learning! Many make time to eventually go to Japan, after overcoming the issue of money and boosting their interests. ;v;/ It’s inspiring, and yet a tiny part of me wonders in the back of my mind, “Can I really do that?” I’m sure tons of shy foreigners have been successful in Japan, overcoming their fears! I can do it too!

Solution: The issue of who will go with me to Japan is still entirely up to God and thus isn’t something I should worry about. The amount of studying (better termed “learning”!) I do now will prepare me for going, as well as taking the JLPT this December, so I should not be lazy about it at all! I should squash the fear of not having time in “my day” to do “everything I want to do”, because first, it is God’s day, not mine, and everything that I do do is what I have chosen to do, so I shouldn’t even complain if I haven’t “done anything productive” in a given day–it was my choice. So I need to just…act. Just do it!

→Fear vs. Not wanting to fail
Now here’s an amusing “battle”. Clearly fear has been mentioned in the other two “battles” as well, and I think that not wanting to fail runs deeply as a fear in and of itself. The fear of failure can be such that it stops you in your tracks, and when put hand in hand with fearing that by going through one door all the others will close, your progress truly becomes arrested. That’s hard to handle. (´Д`。) And I’m not entirely sure how to defeat that fear other than through faith, prayer, and pressing forward. I don’t want to fail. I don’t want to mess up. But time goes on whether I do anything with it or not. Even if I am afraid, I need to move forward.

Solution: Set priorities, and despite any fears that pop up, take action. Take action.

2 Replies to “What’s Holding Back and What’s Pushing Forward

  1. Well said. And in the words of Pop-Pop, “Poop (he used a different version!) or get off the pot!”
    I think that about sums it up!
    You really never cease to amaze me with your maturity and wisdom. The way you succinctly summarize and verbalize that with which we all struggle is truly a gift! Love you!!

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