Some nights well spent
I’m never sold on self-help
I’m too afraid to interrogate myself
When I have the strength to crawl back into bed
I’m writing lists in notebooks
I’m organizing every word
But less forgetful in dividing lines
You called me right on time
I’m picking out my poisons from the wall
To the war inside my head
I’d say I’m getting used to it
I’m getting over it
I’m getting back in bed
We all seem overwhelmed
Keeping time will never tell
I really shouldn’t stay
I should be proper for a change
— P R O P E R, Into It. Over It.
Two weeks ago I was on vacation at Folly Beach in Charleston.
I ate a lot of food, read here and there, and mostly avoided my phone and the internet. Instead of splashing around the digital ocean, I opted to body surf for hours a day with my wife and my family.
The waves would make surfers roll their eyes. Still, I came up from every wave with salty eyes, dry lips and a smile. I was slammed into the floor of the beach and came back with scuffs and scabs. I got a sunburn.
I had the time of my life, and I didn’t Instagram a thing. That wasn’t a conscious choice; the reality is I was eating, sleeping or soaked.
Then I came home, and sidled back to the internet like an addict.
Lungs Full of Digital Water
At the time of this writing, I have…
- 170 articles/videos saved for “later” in my Pocket account
- 109 RSS feeds with 77 unread items (it was 0 only seven hours ago)
- 53 podcast episodes to listen to
- 51 to-do items (2 overdue, 47 recurring) to check off
- 46 movies that I want to watch someday
- 45 apps on my phone that I’ve opted in to notifications for
- 35 Tello cards with things to do or remember
- 32 books on my reading list
- 13 things I want to buy for myself
- 6 unread text messages
- 6 unread emails
- 3 emails with stars that need a reply
- 2 voicemails
Tie me up, untie me
For the past couple of weeks I have been thinking about the word “Savor” because I don’t know how to do it. I eat like a maniac who might never see food again. In the realm of experiences or relationships, I am always on to the next thing. Then the next. I choose what I think I “Should Do” (who’s assigning that, by the way?) without taking any time to taste life or enjoy it.
I spend the first 45 minutes of my day and any “downtime” throughout the day shackled to Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Reddit, Clash of Clans, Emails, Texts, Spotify, Onefootball, plus more.
I’m terrified of letting it all slip. It’s a crusade against being bored. It’s about staying protected. Staying safe from vulnerability seems important.
The thing is, I am not sure when I became so manic, so obsessed with making sure none of it got away from me.
One day I’ll watch every episode of every show in my Netflix queue.
I’ll mark every notification as Seen.
After that I’ll finally play the campaign modes of all those games I spent money on in Steam.
One day my Hulu will be empty, and my RSS Reader won’t have anything else for me to read, and then I’ll finally read all the articles I saved for later.
I’ll watch all those videos people sent me, too.
One day I’ll read all the books on my list, with perfect comprehension. I won’t forget a thing.
I’ll listen to this album with headphones and the lights off all the way through just like the artist intended. People who are like-minded will approve of me for this focus and peace-of-mind.
One day. One day.
Didn’t you untie me, Lord?
Somewhere between learning to ride a bike and graduating from college, I fell hook, line & sinker for a lie:
Doing a lot of things without breaking a sweat makes me more worthy as a person.
It’s been a long experiment, but I can validate (in writing, if you need) that it’s definitely a lie, and very toxic. Some of the plates are going to fall, and that is going to have to be OK, because I hear the Still, Small Voice saying, “Rest.” I believed my obsessive behavior was keeping all the anxiety at bay, but I think something has finally come loose.