I am not the same man I was ten years ago. On many ways this is a good thing, but in others I am worse. Ten years ago I was content in my own thoughts. I loved listening to music or reading but I didn’t need these things.
Now I spend an inordinate of time trying to amuse myself. I browse Imgur far too much. You have to dig for gold even in the most viral page (it takes way longer in usersub). I have many old programs I would like to watch – House of Cards, Breaking Bad, The Thick Of It – but I can’t sit for thirty minutes anymore, because while I am ‘watching’ I am simultaneously online browsing nothingness. This weekend I discovered that Spongebob (another long-running series I had been aching to watch) is perfect for me because it’s genuinely funny and identifiable and about twelve minutes an episode. (BTW, I would be Squidward). Spongebob was perfect at getting me into a place in which I could watch more grown-up programs.
Which really makes me wonder why I have let myself become so accustomed to Imgur, youtube, Twitter and Facebook that my brain struggles to switch off. But it’s more than that. If I’m by myself I will most likely fall asleep with reruns of old comedies playing in the background – comedies I could recite backward. Comedies which are so like friends they are a comfort. Or I read the exact same comedy book every night (I go through the five part trilogy multiple times a year). Why do I need distractions all the time?
I read a book for a solid two hour stretch on Saturday. I don’t think I’ve ever done that. I was in that world for that time. I felt what I think I seek in all the noise I have: connection.
Yet there lies a disconnect between that desire for being part of something bigger than me and the way I go about it. When I flick through any of those social media, all I’m really doing is passively watching other people’s lives and it makes me feel small, like my life doesn’t matter. At the same time I am trying to live their life through their images, their stories, their memes. This is similar to when I was reading that book. I was emotionally involved. I was there. It wasn’t noise. It was reality. I put on noise because I can’t listen to my own thoughts. I am discontent.
So the obvious answer would be to “disconnect.” Well, yeah. But the truth is at the moment I need that noise. I need to find a way of becoming less reliant on it. I guess the noise prevents me thinking, which is ironic because this blog has become more and more diaryesque, and thus a space for becoming content in my thoughts. I’ve downloaded one of those phone use tracker apps, and I will be forgetting it’s there so that I use my phone as normal this week. This will help he better diagnose the problem areas. Then I cut down on the phone usage and begin to reconnect the disconnect so I begin to be content again.