Desperately Seeking Sustenance


Most people have issues with motivation.

Aside from the odd deviant to this rule - workaholics, people who voluntarily wake themselves up before 10:00AM on a Sunday to get ahead with work, you know the sort - you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who didn’t, at times, struggle to make themselves perform the unpleasant-yet-sadly unavoidable tasks of life. Taking the bins out, for example. A necessary evil, and no matter how many times I tell myself that next time I won’t leave it so long, every week, as though on a schedule, I find myself turning a blissfully blind eye to the growing pile of crap in the kitchen corner.

I had a friend, once, who used to pay hundreds of dollars to spend three days in a glorified warehouse with a guy who touted himself as a ‘self-help and motivation expert,’ and a bunch of other people who clearly also had a large sum of money to blow on a small, sweaty man shouting into a microphone. I looked him up online at her insistence.

“He’s amazing! I know you think it’s dumb, Tobes,” she said, blue eyes wide and at their most persuasive, “but I found it really helpful. By the time I finished the course I felt like I could do anything. You know, a week later I finally – “

“You finally got your promotion, yes, I remember.” I bit my tongue on the part of my response that included that her promotion had been from sandwich artist to trainee manager of our local Subway.

“Just try it! Just look him up on YouTube, Gary Goldman. Watch one video, I promise, you won’t hate it as much as you think you will.”

So I did. Just as I suspected, he did a lot of shouting, sweat blotches staining his blue button-down shirt, and made a lot of dramatic pauses for emphasis. He also repeated himself, a lot. You might think that, supposedly being so convincing, purely consuming his free YouTube videos would suffice in order for his devoted audience to achieve the success he so vivaciously promised. Kameron was living proof, however, that die-hard Gary Goldman followers were so dedicated that being in the same room as the man himself was an experience of a lifetime, not to be missed. Personally, I couldn’t see quite the same appeal; he reminded me of a cartoon character, bouncing around the stage. I devoted a whole twenty minutes to one of his videos (How to Kickstart YOUR Life!) before gratefully closing the tab, having decided that this was a suitable amount of time to satisfy Kameron’s request.

A day passed, and another day much the same, and I did not find myself sparing any mind to Gary Goldman or his advice on How To Kickstart MY Life. However, in the weeks that followed, a phrase that I could hear in his shrill, microphone-amped voice seemed to pop up in my consciousness, irritatingly resistant to my efforts to wipe it from my memory.

“Be the sprig of rosemary in the lamb roast of life!”

Positively ridiculous, but it was something Kameron would have loved, or my mother, who was very into self-help and being the best version of you there is! Over the years, they’d both turned me onto countless books and courses and videos, all of which I turned up my nose at for the simple fact that I believed myself beyond help. I was 25, a business graduate, a parent’s basement-dweller and an owner of a nice piece of paper that said to the world that I knew what I was doing but with severely limited knowledge on how to actually do. That was my biography.

My affliction?

Nil motivation. None. Zip. Error 404, motivation not found. For the most part of the years since I’d graduated university, I had been fine with that, and then on one very ordinary May day, my parents sat me down and gave me two months to get out as they were finally pursuing their dream of spending their retirement bird-watching in Alaska, and “the cabin’s are only built for two, Toby.”

I was on week six of eight when Kameron held the metaphorical Gary Goldman gun to my head. In a highly unexpected and vaguely grating turn of events, I have begrudgingly admitted that I’m glad she did.

A week before the date of my forced eviction, I cooked a meal for my parents and I. A going-away present, if you will; roast chicken and potatoes and vegetables from my father’s hobby garden. It had been at least six months since I’d eaten anything that my mother hadn’t cooked for me or had not originated from a cardboard box in the freezer.

“What brought this on, dear?” my mother said, through a mouthful of potato. “I can’t remember the last time you cooked.”

“I just wanted to,” I said. I swallowed some chicken. Gary Goldman’s face loomed behind my eyes. ”I just wanted to - uh.” God, Kameron would die if she could see – “I just felt like it.”

“Felt like it?”

“...Yes,” I said, likely just as astounded as they were that this wasn’t even a lie.

That was five years ago. It’s been a while since I’ve seen Kameron - distance, you know - but I feel as though I owe her a thank you. I hope to return the favour someday. I know she’d make a great Subway manager.

And you, dear reader? If you’re interested, I’m holding seminars and speeches in a city near you. Desperately Seeking Sustenance: Cooking Your Way to Success presented by Chef Toby Tucker. Better get in quick. Tickets are going fast.

Grace Collison is a second-year Communications (Creative Writing) student. She's passionate about three things: the weather, bubble tea and terrace houses. Oh, and writing, when she can get past staring at a blank document.