You may have seen that Kid Strangelove in conjunction with /r/TheRedPill are running #NoNothingNovember. This is post-modern Lent, where we become ascetics with the things that are bringing us down and making us weak, in the hope that we will become strong.
I’m quitting alcohol (pretty boring), my smartphone (sort of interesting), and asking for permission (I have no idea where this will lead).
No Alcohol: I’m starting this from the 3rd of November rather than the 1st. I’ve a party to attend. It may not the be the whole of November, but hey. I’m no masochist.
Alcohol and I have a funny relationship. I get terrible hangovers, which has mostly prevented me from drinking more than 6 beers at a time for years. This is a good thing.
I don’t mind a beer to relax. But when beer happen everyday, and starts to wear away the sharp edge of my awareness in the evenings… then there is a problem.
I’m the sort of guy who can keep to a goal like this once I’ve started. ( I wasn’t always like this… but that’s for another time.) It’s not the first time I’ve quit drinks for an extended period. So I’m taking this opportunity to put booze back into the barrel for a month.
No Smartphone: This is one I’ve been thinking of for a while, and wondering how I would go about it. Well, I’m going cold turkey.
Why you ask? My iPhone is ruining my head.
I’m an info junkie. When I get interested in something I read everything I can on the subject until I get smashing headaches. My phone is my research vehicle, and I will read blog after blog after blog until my brain literally feels full. This happens every couple of weeks.
In between those times, my phone is my distraction machine. If at any time I am slightly bored, the phone will come out. Even if there is nothing for me to read, I will search around on the web until I find something, anything. You know and I know, there is a ridiculous, tottering refuse pile of shit on the net. I usually cannot remember what I’ve just read the moment I close Safari. And I don’t even use Facebook, Reddit, or any other forum style time-wasters.
Not only does my brain literally hurt, but my eyes are paying the price.
I have always had excellent vision, both long range and short. Due to iPhone use my eyes feel incredibly tight. It feels like I look, but I don’t see. I sweep my gaze around a view, but I don’t take anything in. I’m sure this is due to the tiny eye movements one does when reading the small screens of phones over several years. I don’t know how common this is, so I’m interested to see if anyone else out there has the same problem.
So what are the rules? The only things I can use on my phone are text messaging, phone calls, Apple/Google Maps and photos.
No Permission: I read this article about audacity over at Danger and Play and it’s been bugging me ever since. Whenever I’ve been audacious in life it’s paid off. Usually it’s been a function of anger and frustration, where I finally say what I’ve been bottling up, and the results are usually excellent.
Audaciousness is a function of permission. When I ask for no-one’s permisson but my own, I become a white hot pillar of unstoppable flame. Metaphorically of course, cos otherwise I’d be dead, stupid.
I really don’t know how this one will turn out. Character change is a very long term project (i.e. 5-10 years minimum), and this particular aspect is bound to cause significant anxiety over a period of a month. There are important relationships in my life (my wife, my work colleagues) that this will greatly affect. Nevertheless, paying attention in this way will show me how much permission I’m asking for in my life, and how much it will pay off by refusing to ask for it.
I have no measuring stick for this one. I will simply be paying attention to when this behaviour crops up, and monitoring my anxiety levels when I go against my regular character-based actions.
Thanks again to Kid Strangelove for instigating this little bit of awesome in my life, and also TheRedPill Reddit group for supporting it. Nice one guys!