Lately I have been thinking about being driven and what it means to be truly chasing something. As you know, I don't really stop. I spoke to one of my friends at a blogging conference last week and we chatted about how it was actually quite boring to listen to how busy other people are. "Oooh I'm doing x y z and I've got three kids, and a job, and a blog and I'm a volunteer..." bla bla bla. It does become boring, because we choose to be busy and we all have a certain amount of choice over how much we cram into our lives.
It got me thinking - why am I so driven and what exactly am I being driven for? Or to? From???
The path I have chosen is so complex. I have studied for literally years now. I'm in the second year of a part time Masters in history and I'm writing an application to do a PhD. I've obviously balanced working life and a family too, and yes, I know that it is boring for me to bang on about it. Generally I don't, I just get on with it. Sometimes I stop myself and think "hang on - what is it - why am I doing this?" I don't have a normal life. I don't have lots of friends, I don't read trashy magazines, I don't even really watch television. When I say in bios that I am "a bit weird," then I mean it, and I do alienate people, and I myself am alienated. So why? Why would I do this to myself? I did come to some conclusions.
I think I am running away. Like literally running away from the past. I feel like I am always trying to shake off this single mother thing, to the point where I want to get as far away as possible from what it is I was. This is ridiculous. There is nothing wrong with being a lone parent at all, but this is where the drive came from initially - to provide for my child. Since I have been married this has changed - I'm no longer financially motivated, it is all about educating myself and pushing myself to the limit, intellectually. What I am trying to do is literally the impossible. For someone like me. The person who I was, or thought I was.
I feel like all of these doors are in front of me since I did my degree, and they are not necessarily wide open and calling to me, but I'm just running through them and saying, in a bad Mancunian accent "Hiyorr it's me - accept me, let me in, this is what I want."
I often feel like I am not good enough and I struggle to express what it is I want to do. Now and again, I explain what I am doing and there are flashes of "YES I GET IT" - in my head, like I know that this is where I am going and it's the right path. Other times I feel like I stumbled into the wrong room, tripped over and fell flat on my face.
But this is just all in my head. It's not about me, and that's what keeps me going. I am truly passionate about what I am studying, and it means the world to me. I want to give everything over to this project that I want to do. I feel like the time is right for me, and throwing myself into a PhD is throwing myself into work, into possible tears, isolation - throwing myself to scrutiny. I think to my mind it is the most difficult thing, for me, for someone of my background - to throw themselves to. To completely give themselves over to. Is it gender? Class? What is it that makes me so driven to actually do this? I suspect it is a combination of a lot of the points I have already mentioned. I am absolutely determined, and frightened that this time next year I actually will not be a student any more - it will all be taken away from me - for whatever reason - lack of funding, time, energy.
Or maybe these are just the fears of a young working class single mum from years ago, frightened to step out, scared of having ideas above her station. And this grown and driven woman needs to grab her and give her a shake - "You can do whatever you put your mind to. So knock on those doors and you do it."