bluebeard

Ambition

Originally published at PeterCHayward.com/blog. You can comment here or there.

I don’t think that I’ve ever been accused of being lazy.

I’m not (just) writing that to brag, I was genuinely thinking about it over the weekend, and I don’t recall it ever coming up as a descriptor. I’m ambitious, and I’m completely aware that nothing worth happening happens (especially not lofty dreams such as mine) without a lot of work going into it.

I’m also a big believer in doing things that I want to do. It’s my favourite part of being an “adult” – if I decide that I want to have biscuits for breakfast, I can. If I want to spend the weekend sleeping in, that’s entirely my choice to make. And if I decide that “batteries” are the best possible use of my money, then by golly no one and nothing is going to stop me spending my money on batteries.

(it’s 9:30am on Monday morning, and after struggling to wake up after a weekend of sleeping in, I’m now sitting at my computer next to a pile of breakfast-biscuit-crumbs and…batteries.)

Combine these two facts about myself, and things have a tendency to get a little hectic. I do things that I want to do, and work extremely hard on them. I decided a while ago that I wanted to make a panel show, and so We Should Know Better has been going for almost 6 months now – it’s getting better each month, largely because of the huge amount of effort that the team and I pour into it.

Similarly, the impro troupe that I run had two shows on at the Melbourne Fringe Festival this year, because someone in the group suggested it and so we put the effort in, and ran two shows (that I thought were actually quite successful.)

And for several years now, I’ve had the idea of running a comedy gala/variety night, with the intention of raising money for charity.

On my birthday.

This year, I found the motivation, said “hashtag you only live once” and assembled a team to get it off the ground. It’s on the 8th of November, it’s called Chocolate Coated Evening, and like all good events of this magnitude, putting it together is a lot of work.

Inevitably, work on all three of these YOLOs needed to be worked on at once – the impro shows were on at the same time as the gala needed assembling, and We Should Know Better needs to be put together afresh each and every month.

I like blogging for a lot of reasons; there are a lot of bloggers I really admire, I think it’s a nice outlet for putting thoughts out there, and it’s a nice warm-up “each” morning.

Another thing I enjoy about it is that I think you can chart how hectic my life is by how frequently blog-posts appear. I’m hoping to get a post up every day this week, simply because the storm has passed and this is my week of catching up on all the things that don’t get done when life becomes unbearably hectic. (also topping the list: going to the gym, and doing washing.)

I sometimes question my lifestyle, as a part of that “question everything” philosophy that I’m so fond of, but I always reach the same conclusion: being productive, sometimes insanely so, is genuinely what makes me happy. If I’m feeling burned out, I can move things around and take a break, but that typically only happens after something that consumes my entire life for more than a month.

Part of the reason that I am the way I am is a simple fear of death: I want to leave my mark, and productivity contributes to mark-leaving much more than sitting around and masturbating is ever likely to. There’s so much that I want to do in my brief time on this planet, and I like to spend my time doing it.

A lot of it is because I have no idea what I’d be doing if I wasn’t working on things. I sometimes wonder what other people do with their time (and then realise how patronising that sounds) – but I only know a few people who seem to output as much as I do (and not coincidentally, they’re some of my closest friends/collaborators.)

And I think part of it, in what seems like a contradiction to my friends, is because I believe in having no regrets. If I want to do something, I do it, and if doing it turns out to have been a bad idea then I learn a lesson from the experience and take solace in the fact that I used the best available information to me when I chose to do it.

That’s why I moved in with my girlfriend after only knowing her for a few months. (best decision I ever made.) That’s why I told one of my closest friends something she neither wanted nor needed to know about her ex (we’re no longer friends, and boy did I learn a lesson from that one – but not the lesson you’d think…)

As an atheist, I firmly believe that you only get one chance to stand on planet earth, and that it will be over all too soon. I plan to spend the years I have left working hard on things that I love, and spending time with the amazing people I know.

More often than not, those two are the same thing.

I like working hard, I want to work hard, and I don’t know what I’d be doing if I wasn’t working hard. I spend my time working hard, because I have no evidence to suggest that it’s a bad idea. If I eventually learn that I “should” have been spending my time doing other things, I won’t regret it – when I learn that lesson, I’ll adjust my behaviour accordingly.

So far I haven’t learned that lesson, and it doesn’t look like I’m going to any time soon. Two-and-a-half breakdowns and over a dozen failed projects later, I’m still going.

I’m going to follow my dream if it kills me, because the alternative involves dying anyway.