A while ago, a good friend of mine (who I’ll refer to for the sake of this post, as I refer to him in general, as Doc Martin) posted the video I’ve attached (shared? stuck to my blog so you’ve got to at least notice it if you read this post?) below to Facebook, and it really resonated with something inside me. Probably because I was still at a point where paying back student loans seemed like figuring out some long-dead, alien language never meant to be grasped by humans, looking for jobs was still a terrifying prospect, and I was fairly certain I would never figure my life out.
Much of the above remains true, and the song still resonates with me.
The message to “get better,” to just better yourself in any way you can (through education, by making the choice to be proactive instead of apathetic, and so on) is so simple, and still so strong. Oh, right. This post is sort of a self-reminder sort of thing, with a dash of positive motivational thoughts to it and just a hint of sanctimonious soapbox-speakery to it. So there’s a fair warning if I’ve ever given one, and I certainly have.
For me, I think a very big part of this idea of getting better goes back to the very desire to become a writer in the first place. Yes, I know. Super-broad in terms of what I could mean there, so I’ll elaborate. One of the most regular questions I face, as any number of people with any variety of degrees also face, is “What do you do with a degree in English?” This question is usually asked by someone with their nose pointed upwards and their view of me aimed rather downward.
I made myself better with it, through the act of earning it. The act of surviving college, even if it took me six long, tiring years, is an achievement in itself, what with dropout rates as high as they are, and I came out of that time as a far better writer (which really speaks badly of my previous talent, if you can even call it that, and worse of my present; haw haw), and with so many more life experiences that I may not have had otherwise. I fell in love with an art form, kept going with it even though I’ve been met with resistance at times, and I’ve gotten to the point where I’m actually kind of proud of that. But there’s always room for improvement.
Back to the real point here, and focusing on the song’s repetition of the simple phrase “get better” (a phrase that, I should really emphasize, has such a huge meaning). It’s so easy to get caught up in the negative. The news is like having a friend who has nothing but negative shit to say, who somehow doesn’t ever stop talking. Work can really drag you down (or, at least it certainly drags me down). Frankly, people can be bigger assholes than I think they realize at times. You could let that all eat you alive, or you could get better. Rise above it and all that good stuff. Focus on something you absolutely love doing, whether that’s writing, working on your car, contributing your time to a charity, or any other possibility out of the bazillions things you can do thanks to the miracle that is consciousness.
I mean, it’s so easy to just muddle through each day, sleeping or drinking off the bad shit. I certainly do it enough. However, when you’re feeling down and out, just play this song for a bit. Maybe swear and shout at the bad things in your life, if that’ll help. Most importantly, just remember to do your part to get better.
I’m so glad you appreciate your education. It is one of our most precious possessions. Just remember in the words of Mark Twain, “I never let my schooling interfere with my education.” Even with a doctorate, I’m still being educated. Hope that wasn’t too preachy. Keep writing!