This is the abridged version of the background story for my blog:
Since I Quit TV
Rather than starting my story from when I was born, I would like to begin a few weeks ago when I felt I was watching a movie of my life shattering into countless tiny pieces and wondered what I was going to do. To keep with the analogy of shattering, imagine looking at yourself in the mirror, giving yourself that same look you always see staring back at you, and knowing who you are — then imagine the mirror shatters into countless tiny pieces. You watch your fingers bleed as they struggle in vain to put everything back together, and you realize your attempts are futile — you can’t rebuild what was, and it is time for something new. The mirror is gone, and already it has become so difficult to remember who you were that you might as well just start over.
As a member of the modern student sub-population addicted to publicly sharing every minor detail of our lives (I am writing a blog — who did you expect me to be?), I have no qualms using an old Facebook status to take you back in time. This is what I told my 642 Facebook “friends” (which might as well have been the general public) when it was all going down:
I’m going through kind of a tumultuous time right now. In the last few days my life had been turned upside-down — relationships, my outlook on life, a family emergency that has changed our family dynamics beyond recognition. It looks bad. But this is what I see: when right-side up hasn’t been working, maybe upside-down is worth a shot. We can’t control the world around us, but we can choose how to react. As a scientist through and through, this just popped into my head: as the story goes, an apple fell on Newton’s head–that kind of sucks, objectively speaking, and what if he had just said, “OW! Damn apple tree. I’m going home.” (July 15th, 2011)
In contrast to a Facebook post, I have a lovely expanse of endless space in this blog to elaborate a bit. Our lives are interconnected webs of coincidences and reactions, and my web caught fire. Neither the point of origin nor the identity of the arsonist can be easily determined, but it hardly matters. The details are besides the point, but in an effort to be slightly less cryptic, I will give out the bullet points for July 11th-July 14th:
- Family? Ablaze…. (life or death situation — it’s been partially resolved)
- Relationship? Ashes… (this explosion was rather surprising — I’ve never been a fan of surprises)
- Plans for the future? Melting… (my plans got tangled up in people and couldn’t survive the fires around them)
- Goals? Cremated… (my goals were wound tightly around a pillar of ideas at my core — I myself set fire to this pillar after watching everything else around it going up in flames… I guess I’m just OCD like that)
I admit that this is all still a bit vague. I plan to write a few posts about plans and goals, so there might be more detail on that coming later. I do not plan to write much about family or relationships, because not only is that information rather personal to me, but I feel that it would be violating the privacy of others. Again, the details don’t matter. Here’s what matters:
I sat for a while watching the inferno spread, enkindling thoughts and perceptions, the past, present, and future. It was of course frightening at first, but soon it was just beautiful. All around me the world was glowing in brightly colored shades of flames and incandescence, consuming the unnecessary trivialities and laying the world bare before me. As the smoke cleared away, I walked among the ashes and pondered what to build on this newly barren land. The old model was evidently a fire hazard, so I decided to lay the foundation for something better and hope for the best.
The plan was simple: bad habits out, good habits in.
Easier said than done. Life goes on — it doesn’t stop and wait for you to figure it out. Where was I to find the time to decipher and destroy my bad habits, discover good habits and cement them? Lucky for me, I was helped along by some of the same coincidences that torched my mind, and a series of such coincidence-reaction cycles got the ball rolling for me. Firstly, if you’ve ever been in a relationship, especially one on a path heading for a fiery demise, you might recall that it involves time. Suddenly I had large blocks of time and energy floating in my mind begging to be allotted elsewhere. Secondly, I started investing some of these blocks in researching how to build my foundation in a stable, constructive way. Thich Nhat Hanh, a Vietnamese Zen Buddhist monk, suggests that television is one of many forms of consumption people choose to avoid confronting themselves. I agreed. This was the spark I needed — the scales tipped in my favor. Absent relationships and television, the cycles kept turning and churning out new portals for transformation.
Since I quit TV, I have time. I have time for myself. I have time to work out new things to quit, and new things to start, and even old things to re-start. I have time for this blog, and everything posted in it. “Since I Quit TV” is about incinerating bad habits and kindling good habits.
The full title should probably be “Since I Quit TV and a Few Other Things” (and that’s actually the title of the Facebook album I made that corresponds to this blog), but it didn’t seem quite as catchy.
- It’s fun — I like to write. I like to share. I like to hear myself talk . . .
- I wonder if my experiences might even be able to help other people help themselves — If not “helpful,” I’d settle for “entertaining” . . .
- Motivation — It will encourage me to keep going. I will be held accountable to my vast, vast audience of blog-followers. . .