When I look at the last few years of my life, it seems to me that many of the errors I have made or obstacles I have run into have had a common contributing factor. Since the shift from my high school to my college career, I have somehow lost the ability to reflect. If you know me well enough, chances are you’ve heard me talk about this before. But lately, it seems like a very important part of my life that needs to be addressed.
Of course, whenever one is talking about a lack of reflection (either on oneself or on the world as a whole), it is easy to slip into the argument that this is a worldwide issue. That human beings do not take the time to think today as they used to do. But to make this argument would be wrong of me. I cannot speak for the world, my friends, or my family. I can speak only for myself. That is what I plan to do.
I have had several “revelations” over the past few years in which I realized just how much time I was wasting. Hours lost to television and movies, most of which I had already seen. Hours of listening to music, most of which I had repeated so many times I knew the words by memory. Hours of staring at my devices like a dead-eyed idiot, allowing myself to be sucked into the void that is entertainment, rather than using it as the tool it should be.
The point of all this is not to say that I have instantaneously changed my ways in a matter of hours. No. This is meant to be a statement of intentionality. Dozens of things have weighed on my mind in recent months, and while I have accomplished much, I have also felt a significant portion of my life slipping by as I sit idle. Watching.
Furtherswhich’smore, there is the matter of how I am using the hours I have been given. I spend time with my family, work at a job I am passionate about, study subjects I am interested in, run races that challenge me, and talk to friends that I love. But how do I spend my time between all these things? Usually by pulling up netflix, YouTube, Spotify, or a game on my iPad.
How much more deep might my connections with others be if I gave myself time to think? How much more energy would I have if I didn’t fill my downtime with mindless entertainment? How much happier would I be if I thought through the issues weighing on me, instead of pushing them to the corners of my mind?
These are the questions I hope to answer for myself in the coming weeks. My addiction is to distraction. It does not rob of me my health, my money, my relationships, or my sense of purpose, but it does take away the only time that I truly have to myself. Every moment that I could spend daydreaming, writing, napping, listening, grieving, walking nowhere, caught up in my own mind. . .now I spend each one of those moments wishing that I could get them back.
As I work to revive this blog, to bring it back to what I originally wanted it to be, I will leave this little reminder; both for myself and for you.
Don’t dwell on what you’ll do after achieving Goal A. Instead, ask yourself how you will spend your time while you look for Goal B.