Archive for November, 2009

At the Heart of it All

Posted by on Sunday, 29 November, 2009

I do not know if I have explicitly mentioned it here before, but I suffer from an internet addiction. I really do not like to mention this to people, because I worry that it merely sounds like a euphemism for “pornography addiction.” Which is a serious problem of which it is not my intention to make light, it just so happens that I have a different serious problem.

I have talked for years about canceling my internet service, but still have not followed through. I have in the past taken the smaller steps of blocking particularly time-consuming sites such as youtube and hulu from my computer, and also had a couple of periods where I disconnected my modem and forced myself to go to a local wifi hotspot in order to check email and so forth, but something always comes up that reinforces the necessity of a home internet connection. I rather feel that in this day and age, internet access has become more important than the telephone. (Oh, and also because I have no self-discipline. Let’s not forget that.)

That was all a setup to mention that I recently went on a four week internet fast in an effort to force productivity in other areas. For full disclosure, it was not a 100% abstention, as I did log on occasionally for “business”, i.e. to pay a bill, online banking, I checked my email exactly one time because of a work-related matter, and so forth. Also, I confess that I did have a couple of lapses where I spent a day (or two) researching everything there is to know about whatever random and ultimately pointless topic that happened to be on my mind at the time. I did however manage to avoid facebook, rss reader, webcomics, blogs, online flash games, TV shows, videos, comedy websites, and listening to music.

The first day was quite difficult. I literally went through withdrawals, wondering “What the !@#$ am I supposed to do now?” I think I spent a great deal of that first day literally staring at a wall. The second day I got into a cleaning mode which was a nice change. It was not until the third or fourth day that I finally made it back into the garage to continue with a certain woodworking project.

This of course, was the whole point of the exercise. For I have a great number of ideas and projects that I would like to do “sometime”, but when it comes to getting up and JUST. F$%^ING. DO IT! … I seem to have trouble with that.

So for years, I have blamed the internet, because I would rather surf the internet than do, well, anything really. Within the first few days of my fast, I realized that the problem was actually deeper than that. I have no energy. Even though I have this project that I have been working on, that I want to work on, that I really have nothing better to do than work on… I found that I just did not want to work on it “right now.” I explained it to one person as the feeling you get when you have come home from a long and stressful day at work and you just want to sit down and “veg” for awhile… I feel like that all the time, only I haven’t just worked a long day. I feel that way when I wake up, after breakfast, even after working for just an hour or so I feel like I would like to go back inside and sit down for awhile.

Surfing the internet is something that requires very little energy. If I had a working TV, I might watch that instead. If I had any video games, I might play those. If I subscribed to any magazines, I might read those. Yet, as I mentioned before, the internet is all of those AND MORE. It is, however, a symptom, not the problem.

It is not a particularly new problem either. For as long as I can remember, I have always been a little “slow.” I think slowly; I move slowly; I drive slowly, work slowly, write slowly; and in a more abstract sense, make decisions slowly and accomplish life goals very, VERY, slowly. I am continually frustrated in that just about every task I undertake seems to take far longer than it reasonably should. It would be nice to say that I am merely being “meticulous”, yet that is rarely the case. Take, for example, woodworking, which I am at least pretending to be passionate about lately, yet ultimately I recognize that it takes me a ridiculously long time to do shoddy work.

Anyway, that was my revelation for this month. I have not yet determined if the problem is psychological, physical, or dietary. At this point, I suspect all three.