In Which I Light A Fire

After my first year of university, I lived in a run-down student house alone for four months. It kinda sucked generally but one experience in particular from sticks in my head.

I started the summer with a trip to Ikea (what student doesn’t?) and bought a bunch of stuff, including a little bedside table with three drawers in it. I started assembling it as soon as I got home, but didn’t finish. Didn’t finish the next day either.

Or the next day. Or the next week.

Or all summer, actually. It was at a very specific point of semi-construction, too. I managed to put together the frame and, on my second attempt, the top drawer. I then got the second drawer done in the first try. After that, though, I completely lost interest.

I sometimes think I lost interest because the challenge of finishing it was minimal: I’d figured out HOW to do it and mastered the process with the second drawer. There wasn’t anything of interest to me any more.

And it wasn’t like I didn’t have any spare time. My god, I feel like I did nothing that summer except sit around on my ass and eat and stare at my three-quarters-finished bedside table.

How ridiculous, right? Just finish the stupid table! It would have taken all of 10 minutes and I’d have that great feeling of accomplishment afterwards.

But, then again, I didn’t give a crap about the table. I didn’t really need it for anything and at that point only the direst of needs (like going to work or the bathroom) could possibly shake me from my idle stupor.

I think this hints at the difference between people who actually DO STUFF and people who don’t. And by STUFF I mean the important, interesting and remunerative activities of the world. The high status stuff.

In one of Dan Carlin’s excellent podcasts on the fall of the Roman Empire, he talks about how Julius Caesar was perceived by his contemporaries during his youth. Hard to excerpt from a recording, but (from memory) JC’s most consistently noted feature was his level of activity. He was always doing stuff, always getting stuff done, always up to something. As a kid.

Seeing some project (big or small) through to completion is not easy. Doing it all the time is harder.

I write all this to relight my fire for working on the weekend project. I’d say that my progress level is 1 drawer out of 3 at the moment. I refuse to stop until I’m done.

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