These are some questions I like to ask myself:
1. What do you want to do and why aren’t you doing it?
2. What would you rather be doing right now?
3. What would you rather be saying/writing?
4. If something doesn’t make you feel good, why are you doing it?
Although I’m careful to observe what I like and dislike about my daily life, it is still easy to fall into bad habits, and sometimes it takes me awhile to catch onto what I’m doing. Sometimes I don’t realize why I feel so sad and hopeless until I re-trace my steps of the day, and pinpoint the moment at which my gut felt heavy, my heart began to pound, and then I sit with the feeling with awareness of what led me there, and then I try to change it. Not change the feeling, so much as change the habits that led to that feeling, so I can hopefully experience it less often.
And then I am brought to these questions. And I try to write down the answers. Sometimes I’m wasting time on the internet when what I’d rather be doing is writing. Sometimes I’m laying in bed when what I’d rather be doing is drinking coffee and reading a good book. Sometimes I’m reading a good book when what I’d rather be doing is going out for a walk. And so on…
I write these things called Life Lists (credit to Dave Cave for the name!). I take a big sheet of paper, write the issue I wanna work on in the middle (the ‘issue’ is generally myself, so I just write my name), and then I branch out with all these parts of my life and habits and whatnot and I write smaller lists about what I want and what I need to change and all sort of things. The themes range from mental health to daily life to internetz to writing, etc. It clears things up to write things down, and it helps make my goals seem more concrete, more do-able.
Maranda’s Life List, December 2011
Maranda’s Life List again, December 2011
The photos above are an example of a Life List I made a few weeks ago. Dave Cave and I got together to work on our lists, and both of our lists happened to have a main theme of our usage of the internet, and, more specifically, minimizing our time spent online. Because, frankly, I spend too much time online and not enough time living. So, once again, I am working on breaking that habit. I am especially minimizing the time I spend on Facebook (which I have written about before). This is how I’m feeling about that right now: I need to spend less time on the internet, and more time with myself and my friends. I need to spend less time staring at a screen. I’m not disappearing, I’m still here, my accounts all over the internetz remain intact, but I need to take a few steps back. Dave and I have been having long conversations about why we spend so much time online when we only end up feeling worse afterward. I think it’s because I need some kind of connection, but I’m fucking shy. It’s easier to be at home alone and type a message to a friend than it is to invite them over for a cup of tea. I wish that weren’t true. Sometimes I think Facebook, and maybe even all of the internet, will someday simply implode. And all the messages and all the everythings we’ve posted will disappear. And then we will all be forced to (re-)learn some meaningful communication skills, to (re-)learn how to tell our stories and our secrets out loud and how to hold hands and how to knock on our friends’ doors instead of turning on our computers and reading their names in place of hearing their voices.
Do you ever feel the same? This is the kind of feeling that leads me to asking myself all those questions above. Have you ever asked yourself the same questions? Have you come up with any answers? Would you like to share them?
P.S.: Part Two forthcoming! I’ll try to answer some of the questions above with what I’d rather be doing, why I’m not doing those things, or maybe even hopefully why I am doing those things.
P.P.S.: If you’ve benefited from my writing in any way – if my words have inspired you, helped you feel less alone, or sparked some weird feeling within you; if you’ve felt encouraged, or curious, or comforted – please consider compensating me by offering a donation of any amount. Whether you’ve been reading my writing for years, or just stumbled into me this afternoon, I invite you to help me sustain the process!