Thursday, January 03, 2013

Resolved: I'll Do Things I Enjoy

I didn't quite get back into the full swing of work yesterday, but I did about an hour and a half of editing/revising, and I hope to get more than that done today.

My New Year's resolutions tend to be the same just about every year and involve exercise, organizing and writing. This year, I'm going to mix it up, with possibly the same result (though maybe actually achieving it instead of just aiming for it). I resolve to make a point of doing the things I enjoy and doing the things that are necessary to do or have the things I enjoy. I was looking at a list of things I love to do that I made a few years ago and realized how many of them aren't that difficult to do but that I never end up doing. For instance, I love to take long walks. I live surrounded by parks that are great for walking. But I so seldom actually get out and do it. I love to dance, and I am taking ballet classes, but there's other dancing to be done -- ballroom, folk dancing, etc. I have a number of local groups bookmarked but have never actually gone out to do it. I may not enjoy the cleaning and organizing process, but I really do want to live in a clean, organized home. Writing may be difficult and draining, but I really do enjoy doing it, and since it's the way I earn my living, I need to do it to be able to afford other things I like to do, like travel. So, if I focus on doing the things I love to do, everything else should fall into place.

That means I need to cut out the things that I seem to spend a lot of time on without much in the way of reward, where I do enjoy them but spend time to the point of diminishing returns. That means that I'm going to have to let people be wrong on the Internet. I love a good discussion of books, movies or TV shows, and the Internet has been wonderful for being able to discuss things I enjoy with others. But I've learned that there are some people you just can't "discuss" things with. Many of them ride into a discussion on a personal hobby horse, and they can't deviate from that view, even if reality is in opposition. You can't discuss with that person because being logical and reasonable doesn't work. They see the world through blinders and can't admit anything that might threaten their viewpoint. And then there's the entitlement mentality, where if it doesn't go the way they want it to go, that means it's wrong and bad. They're incapable of acknowledging that something can still be good even if it's not the way they would have chosen for it to go (I'm of the view that if it goes the way I'd have written it, then there's no point because I could have just done it myself), and they're incapable of acknowledging that other people might have different views. It's not what they wanted, so obviously everyone agrees with them that it's bad and wrong. Once you realize that you're dealing with one of these people, there's no point in citing examples or references or really saying anything. You just have to roll your eyes and move on, focusing instead on the people you can discuss things with.

I think learning to let go and back away from being the voice of reason in all Internet discussions will also help with what I call The Internet Doom Loop. That's when I start the day checking e-mail, checking Facebook, and checking my usual group of blogs, sites and message boards, responding or commenting as appropriate. And that's fine. It's how I warm up my brain in the morning. But it's what comes after that's the problem. I then have to go back and re-check everything to see if anyone has responded or posted anything new, then I respond, and then I have to cycle back to see if anyone responds to that. Checking e-mail every so often is necessary, since that's where the business stuff comes in, but I need to limit everything else to once a day, maybe a few times a day for something fast-moving like Facebook. Not getting involved in pointless arguments will stop a lot of the need for endless checking. I don't even enjoy the reading at this point. I just feel like I can't break out of the loop. It should be easier to break out if there's nothing to check back on and if I remind myself of things I could be doing that I enjoy more.

So now for just one more check of my e-mail ...

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