Changing It Up

I’m feeling a bit restless and unsettled this week. A little rudderless, and I’m not fond of that feeling. I’m a control freak who likes to have everything planned out. I find comfort in arranging the details with the goal of reducing the chances that something might go wrong. It’s probably one of my bigger flaws.

I’m cognizant of the fact that no one can plan for every possible outcome. I know that a lot of random, unexpected things could throw my plans into turmoil. I just prefer the fiction that if I plan carefully, everything will go the way I expect and want. That fiction is comfortable. It gives me a sense of safety.

Anyway, back to my original statement. I’m a bit out of sorts this week, and I know the root of some of those feelings. On Wednesday, I removed all social media apps from my smartphone and tablet. I haven’t deactivated my accounts (yet), but I have gone cold turkey on accessing them.

I’ve noticed I’m spending too much of my writing time in the social-media rabbit hole. I’ll write a sentence or two and then log on to see if anyone responded to that funny thing I said five minutes ago. That’s not the way to get any writing done, and I have the lack of results to show for it. That means it’s time for an intervention.

I’m not sure how long my self-imposed blackout will go. I’ll see how productive I am without it and decide from there.

Even with that freeze on my online activity, I still haven’t accomplished much on the writing front this week. Jen was traveling for work, which should have given me a lot of writing time. But I got sucked into binge-watching a show. Again, the Internet sinks its claws into my writing time and shreds it like my cat does his scratching post. Ugh. Talk about needing some discipline. I’ve definitely lacked it recently.

I’m not going to beat myself up too badly for that, though. Lots of social scientists are working with the social-social media and online-streaming companies to come up with better ways to tap into our brains’ desires and use those desires against us. And it works.

Battling my brain’s reactions to streaming and social media is a bit like being a control freak. I know changing my habits will be hard, and I won’t always succeed. But I’m trying to be more aware of how I react to these stimulate so my reactions are more thoughtful and deliberate.

And, in one final note, I just read that Mary Oliver has died. She is a poet I admire, and I hope you’ll check out some of her work. She had an amazing gift for seeing the world. You can find a sample of her work at Poetry Magazine or read her biography and see a list of her publications on the Academy of American Poets website.

(Photo by Filip Mroz on Unsplash)

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