Aside: By now you’ve probably realised that my titles are only related to the content of what I write in a tangental, or known only to me way. They’re usually related to a piece of art – music, film, poetry, or whatever – that has some image that’s in my mind at the beginning of the morning. And from there I quickly segue-step down the yellow-brick road of my mind to some potentially unrelated destination. I was always bad at planning essays in school, and I don’t have to stick to the point here. The point is my rambling exposition. Forgive me. Or not! But either way, you’ve been warned.
I think a lot about about the time I waste. There are so many hours of the day thrown away on stuff that I’m pretty sure I won’t be wishing I’d had more of when it comes to my dreaded death-bed. I give myself a hard time about it too, filled with internal judgement about those squandered minutes and wishing I were different, only to engage in the same time-wasting behaviours the very next day.
Remind you of anything?
Well, it reminds me of drinking and eating behaviours. “Ugh, I said I wasn’t having wine tonight. Then I did. Calories, time wasted, health issues! Why can’t I just do what I say I’m going to do?! Then I ate food I didn’t want too. I didn’t even taste it, just piled it into my stomach until it hurt to fit any more in there. Why don’t I have any self-control? What is wrong with me????“
And then I’d feel lost and disgusted with myself and determine that tomorrow would be better. And often it was. But the day after tomorrow. Or maybe two days later, or five, or a week later … back to the same place.
Eventually, around about April, I came to the conclusion that I thought that drinking that way was doing something for me. I don’t think I wrote it down like that at the time. . I think I wasn’t into leaping to conclusions about what might stick at the time. I wanted to give it time and see if it did work. Maybe I did with the Carneval post – it was kind of me proving to myself that no, actually there was nothing there.
So, look, I’m not there with social media, tv and all the other things I berate myself for “using” to switch off from my life in some way. But it’s the same thing going on there to some degree; I think that it’s doing something for me. Maybe it is. Facebook is a hard one, because there’s definite FOMO in coming off it for any length of time. Not just the fear of missing out on what others are doing, but fear of missing out on sharing what I’m doing and getting that little electric hit from the reactions and comments I get in response.
As for some of the other time-wasting activities – I think I’m getting something there too. Downtime. Sure. Is this the downtime I want? Being able to reference popular culture. Maybe … doubtful! I’ve never really cared too much about being up to date with that kind of thing. I do get pretty heavily invested in stories, and so I enjoy tv series with long involving story arcs.
Ultimately though, it’s about disconnecting from my life. I have a very strong internal belief that I need to spend some (way too big) percentage of my life disconnected from the actual living of it. A true analysis of how I spend my time reveals that I actually waste more time than I even admit to myself. Because how many so-called “productive” hours do I waste daydreaming and fantasising about Future King of the World, Me, who has sorted everything out. The me who has finally gotten thin. The me who doesn’t struggle with addictions to social media, coffee, food, alcohol or anything else I’ve deemed “inappropriate”. A person with no physical ailments, a calm, zen, fully self-actualised authentic person. With a clean house.
When I’m living in the future like that, I get overly invested in how I’ve planned for the day to be. And I’m tense and disconnected – not only from myself but also from those around me I love – especially if something threatens to thwart my scheduled and planned out day. Because I’m afraid. I’m afraid that if I don’t stick to the plan, then I can’t get to that imagined future in which I’m so invested.
So, maybe my title has a meaning after all. Quitting anything I don’t like having in my life is all the same. It only involves the complete readjustment of my internal perceptions as to what I value and what is bringing value into my life.
That’s not so hard, right?