Freedom to be Structured

by Jinryu

Lately, I’ve had a lot more “home time” than ever before.  I’m in my final semester of law school, with a 4-credit (4000-5000 word) thesis paper to write.  I’m also doing College of Law PLT, which is a 15 week online course with 2 more weeks of onsite work.  Right now, I’m working on a final paper for a summer class that I finished back in January.


I am living in a pretty good apartment.  Although I’m in massive debt, I’m not hurting for cash any time soon and my quality of life is generally pretty good.


The irony is that, now that I have a largely self-directed day to work on whatever I want, I find that I don’t have the discipline to do so very often.  There are definitely things that I need to do– I need to keep writing papers and job applications– but I have such a hard time doing these things, even though they’re not inherently difficult.

The problem, quite frankly, is sloth.  I don’t think I can really describe it any other way.  Or maybe I’m a bit burnt out.

The highest work output I generate lately is at judo– and that’s because when I’m at a class, the structure and the agenda is right there. I don’t get to decide what I have to do– someone tells me what we’re working on.  That, or someone starts trying to strangle me and, well, I kind of naturally decide that I don’t want that to happen, so I fight back.


But being at home? Staring at a word processor and PDF files day after day?  It is much easier being strangled.

I’m definitely in a better state of mind now that [CM] is back from Canada– but I am just kind of surprised at my own motivation levels when I’m taken outside of the structure of the workplace and academia.  Everyone wants to be free– but without a social environment, I find that my motivation is lower.  That’s not to say I’m not working on it– I’m a lot more diciplined now than I was a couple of months ago, and this is only because I’ve been forcing myself to get shit done.  I just think it’s a rather nuanced irony that, given freedom, I would opt for structure.