Terrace House Wisdom

I have been “watching” (my version of “watching” is more like half-listening to while doing other things) the Netflix / Japanese “reality show” “Terrace House” and I just came across some wisdom that I suppose I had overlooked while halfheartedly “watching” / listening to the show. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this show, it is an “unscripted” Japanese reality show … something like “Jersey Shore” except on a much more “Japanese” level – there are 3 young women and 3 young men (usually 20-somethings) who are often highly pierced (in their ears) but who are “motivated” to do “great things” with their lives in some shape or form. Each housemate leaves when he or she feels it is time or that he or she has accomplished what he or she wanted to accomplish while living at the “Terrace House.” Forgive me if you are a fan of the show and that is a really terrible explanation!

At any rate, I just picked up on the fact that these “young people” are highly motivated individuals – I think I was thrown off by the one longstanding “resident” being a “part-timer” whose “dream” was to become … … … Spiderman. With this “exception” as the exception, I caught some dialogue between an Italian living in Japan looking to make a name for himself in manga and another young man who is a professional basketball player in Japan looking to make it into the Olympics in 2020. They were both telling each other how each other’s presence in the house had motivated the other so greatly to work harder and both felt that they had gained a sense of “energy” from the other.

I was thinking about this in regard to my living situation now and my living situationS in the past and I realize how very true it is that you really NEED to have people around you who are motivational to you in some respect. I have a tendency to play this in a “Hegelian” sense; that is to say, I have a tendency to be “motivated” by those around me who do … nothing: to put it bluntly, that is not a good way of motivating oneself (that is, the negative definition of this sort of motivation does not define the motivation for which I am ultimately looking and for which I should look….). I realize there is not a lot I can do about my living situation at this point insofar as surrounding myself with extremely motivated people who are so passionate about what they do that they have pushed through seemingly insurmountable obstacles to get to where they are. I realize that in some ways I am one of these people (I am alive and kicking, after all … and I honestly don’t know many people who could have lived my life to date and made it this far, as morbid as that might sound), but I am surrounded by 90+-year-olds who watch TV and have their children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren take care of them and by 60-somethings who don’t “go out” without a reason and tend just to sit around and watch TV as well … without leaving the house for days and days at a stretch (I have been sick in bed the last 3 out of 4 days and every single one of those days I went out for at least a short walk).

At any rate, all of this has made me realize the truth in the many sayings about how who we are is very much determined by those with whom we surround ourselves – knowingly and unknowingly. Again, I realize that not only in my case, but in many of your cases (and in most of the cases of people in the world!), your “living situation” isn’t ideal and there really isn’t much you or I or anyone can do about it … NOW. What I mean to say is that whoever we might be around, it is a bad idea to follow MY example in being motivated ONLY NOT TO BE LIKE OTHERS WHO SEEMINGLY ACCOMPLISH NOTHING. It really creates more of a sense of frustration and anger (not to mention stress!) than it does in motivating me to accomplish things. I never really thought about the difference between this sort of “negative determination” of “motivation” and actually being motivated by others until I was listening to this “Terrace House” dialogue. I can say that back when I lived in Pittsburgh, I was HIGHLY MOTIVATED to do the things I wanted to do … and more often than not, I did them. The same was true when I was in high school and much younger.

I suppose what I am ultimately trying to say is that even if the people AROUND YOU ARE NOT NECESSARILY MOTIVATING, it is CRUCIAL that you FIND A WAY TO CONNECT WITH PEOPLE WHO MOTIVATE YOU – whether these are people with whom you connect online, people you meet perhaps volunteering (if you can do so) or at your place of worship (if you are religious), or just a random neighbor you happen to meet and get to know. But I am learning more all the time that we really are kind of the “sum” of the parts of the “qualities” personified by the people closest to us – and that can be a really good or a really bad thing. I do not want any of you to fall into the trap I just realized I was ensnaring MYSELF in – the trap of thinking one CAN motivate oneself by wanting NOT to be like them. It doesn’t work.

I am going to try to find more ways to connect with more “inspirational” people. I think this is what so many of these New Agers / “Positivists” mean when they talk about “mentors.” I don’t think they have to be necessarily “famous” sorts of people; I don’t think they necessarily even have to be in the field or fields in which you have interest. I think it is just important to hunt out the people who have pushed through whatever obstacles they have faced in life and done the things they have wanted to do and continue to do so, wherever they are and however you meet them. I will definitely keep notes on how I am doing in this regard so I can report here (and perhaps elsewhere!) because I think this is a critical “thing” not only for those of us who have chronic illness and really MUST bash through those walls to do just about anything, but for ANYONE who has any sense of self-actualization and wants “more” for his or her life.

I sincerely appreciate your time in reading my ramblings! I have a lot to think about in thinking about this … and I hope you do as well! Always remember that there is always time … until there isn’t. And “there isn’t” always comes too soon….

My heart is ALWAYS with you….

❤ Always, Beth


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