Wednesday, November 10, 2010


I find as I go through these situations again and again that I'm a bit of an adrenaline junky. Maybe that's not even the right term. I'm driven by goals, that's clear, I love working with horses partly based on all the planning I can do. Little baby steps to meet the goals. But I've seen over and over again in my life that I tend to throw myself at extremely difficult things, not just to see if I can do them, but to give myself something stressful enough to incite some action. I finished my Masters degree this summer. The very first week of my very first summer I was pretty sure I had bitten off way more than I could chew. I finished because I am stubborn. It was insanely difficult for me, partly because it is a high level of education, but mainly because it hit on some of my biggest weaknesses. So why did I throw myself at that? Bigger question, why did I find some much motivation to finish it?

Motivation is a funny thing. There are many days where the only motivation to go through the motions of the day is that some piece of it HAS to, absolutely must, happen. Mornings are not my favorite thing. Without a concrete event to incite action, my morning mode, where I don't quite engage with life, can be prolonged up to the point I go to bed again. I had this happen surprisingly often when I lived abroad. There were vacation days where I didn't have to work and those few people that I knew were out of town, and after a few days I would realize, that I hadn't spoken to a soul, for several days. I read books, I walked, I sucked into an interior life that didn't allow for an outside reality. I found out that I can be an extreme introvert, to the point of being a recluse, and it didn't really seem alarming. I was living without a dog, cat, or horse. I think that made a difference.

My days, most often are incited to action by the fact that I have a job that expects to be in there sometime around 8am. I don't clock in, I don't get written up if not in at a certain time, so the motivator works, just give or take about 20 minutes. Once at work I usually engage in what I'm doing, new things, challenging things, extremely overwhelmingly filled lists of things, they capture my attention while there and then I forget that I need motivation to get things done! Then there are other days, where once I'm there I'm not sure how I can convince myself to do anything other than think about going to get more coffee. The days where everything is easy and simple and straight forward, I hate those days. Somehow I don't end up doing half of what needs to be done, and yet the day before I had twice as much to do and managed to do it all! Apparently I love to be stressed!

So the conclusion drawn here is that if I were left to my own comfortable, unstressed, uninterrupted life, I think I would probably cease to shower, clean, leave the house, then eat. I'm sure it'd be a slow process! But it is the interaction, or even confrontation, in life that motivates me to get out and do something. I think this could be true, except that I have animals. I have people too, don't get me wrong, I would have people coming to pull me out of my smelly unnoticed misery with in a day! But that would be an intervention, not a motivation. I'm sure this will all change when I have kids, but right now, the only things in this world that rely on me for their well being and happiness, are my animals. A dog politely encouraging you to get up because they REALLY need to pee, that's a motivator to start your day! Horses that will be cold or hungry if you don't go out to feed and blanket is a motivator. My horses bring satisfaction in a job well done, they creature to worry over, and tend to. They give you something to care for aside from yourself. Again, this isn't to say that I don't value human relationships, but my perfectly capable boyfriend is not going to go hungry, he doesn't rely on me the way my animals do.

Alright, so I have found my motivator, my catalyst for action, my horses and my dog drive me to get going, start the day, engage in the world. Then what, then I run into the same need for new, the need to be challenged, the need to believe that there's a good chance that what I'm doing could totally fail and yet I'm pushing though anyway. The need was filled by buying a 2 and a half year old gelding, and starting him under saddle. But then he got really too easy! He's so stinking easy! So I bought another horse to break, really honestly, to prove that Bear was a fluke and that I couldn't do it. Low and behold, Lola was tougher at times, but I've done it none the less. Now I have two, and that too many, there will be no third horse. So aside from quitting my day job for the highly dangerous and low paying job of breaking colts, what do I do now? I start focusing on my next goal, my next challenge, my next commitment that will leave me thinking, "Good gracious what have I gotten myself into?"

I'm short on time and energy to focus on a really big goal, but that is what inspires me. In the mean time I'm staying focused on keeping the momentum so that I'm ready. My ridiculously challenging goal for the moment, is keeping both horses worked regularly. Its tough too! I know that my next push with both of them will be getting them jumping so that as soon as show start up next spring, we'll be ready. To jump then need to be fit. To be fit they need regular and strategic work. So that is my goal for now, and it is working terribly well because it hits my procrastinator vein! If I can put off committing to jumping due to Lola's flat work needing improvement, Bear's general lack of condition from the summer, and other minor details that I can tell myself I'm working on, then I can prolong the moment of actually facing the fact that I really want to do something that I'm not terribly good at! So there is my next terrifying, stressful, and utterly motivating goal, I will jump courses bigger than two foot. I will learn to not get launched around with funky green horse mistakes. I will be a better rider, and I will become a better person in the process. That is were the motivation resides, the thrill of becoming something more than you were.

1 comment:

tangerine said...

wow, that was really cool to read! I love hearing about what gets people going. I have the same kind of do or die attitude when it comes to setting goals, and unfortunately I've had to break a few goals lately for reasons beyond my control. Maybe I'll take a page out of your book and just gun for it, because in the end that's where all the fun comes from anyway right? I'm going to be writing my 1 year anniversary post soon, I'll include some goals for ya.