Old habits die hard, or not at all.
In a world full of endless distraction now just finger tips away, it is too easy to get lost in it all. A healthy amount of distraction is a good thing, and that’s probably how it started. We all live in our own heads to some extent, but I tend to be a more extreme head-case. I over think everything and have a rather constant dialogue in my head, unless I can distract it elsewhere.
So distractions are healthy, when used in appropriate amounts. For much of my younger years, video games often served that niche. Video games were both fun and a great way to escape reality. While I would pull the occasional evening or even weekend binge, I always could turn them off. It helped having a vibrant social life and academic deadlines, but even still, I knew how to walk away. And I still do, that’s not the problem, this isn’t about to be a tell-all of a video game addict.
No, the problem was everything else. Add TV. Add movies. Add social media. Add YouTube. Add Netflix. Add other mostly pointless apps. Suddenly, it became extremely easy to maintain distraction from one to another. I could walk away from one (and feel good about the self-control) only to fall into another distraction. Smart phones made it easy. Constant, even.
Then remove the deadlines that made scheduling easy. Remove the functional social life. Add an amorphous goal of “find a job.” Add a growing disappointment in myself and my environment. Suddenly, I found myself falling deeper into distractions, coming up for air less often.
Because if I can’t see you, you can’t see me. If I can’t see, feel, or think about the problem, it’s not there.
Take even this blog post. I couldn’t count the number of mini breaks I took to look, read, respond to something else. I should have written this in half the time it took.
So during the year long detour, I found myself spending more time underwater and less time fighting for shore. But even still, I would have moments where the will, the motivation, the desperation would return and I’d refocus, reorient and rationalize.
Because one bad habit begets another.