I am wasting time right now trying to calculate how much time I have wasted over the last few years in learning about issues and arguments which were none of my business. I have been at my computer for over an hour already tonight and have done nothing but read posts that online friends commented on, or peruse articles and blogs which they found of interest. It is an hour which I will never have again. It is also an hour which was utterly wasted. Nothing I learned will ever be of any use to me in becoming the person I want to be. I will not be able to take the facts and figures I have read and parlay that data into beneficial form, to be utilized at some future opportune moment. In short, I have squandered sixty minutes of my life.
The mind boggles when I consider that I have done this for a corresponding amount of time on most days over the last several years. I have a serious problem. I am an information junkie. There may even be a 12-step program for people like me. There should be. I’m pretty sure that there are an incredible number of souls out there who like me, masticate (that’s a big word for chew; I learned that on the Internet) continuously on mountains of facts and opinions, but never get to the point where they absorb and use the profusion of material they have perused.
“Hello. My name is Paul and I have a problem. I know lots of things that will never be useful to a single soul on this planet. I’m here today to start on the road back to sanity.”
I jest, but there is a thread of somber truth running through my jocularity. I say that I think there are others out there with the same problem, but no one ever admits it to me. Perhaps, I would be the only one at the meetings, but I really don’t think so.
What? You too? Oh, good. I’m not alone in the world. Maybe we can figure out this thing together. What we need to do is to gather some information about the problem and then come back–Oh! That won’t help, will it? Let’s think about this for a few moments.
The problem with being an inquisitive person is that you find out things. Some may snicker at that, but the truth is more painful than one might anticipate. We have at our fingertips a plethora of resources about any subject, and about most people. I find out, almost daily, about something a friend or acquaintance has done which makes me unhappy. Perhaps they have been unfaithful to their spouse; perhaps other unwise choices have been made. Regardless, I now have facts in my head which I wish I had never discovered, and which will never be erased.
The information that once came to us in a gentle trickle like one of those soaker hoses is now deluging us with the torrential flow of a fire hose. Everywhere we look, we find more information which we don’t need to know. Teachers are assaulted in their classrooms; other teachers are involved sexually with their students. Certain foods are killing us; it is certain that they are the same foods which ward off cancer. Politicians lie to us; special interest groups lie about the politicians. The list is an endless and motley collection of the irrelevant and urgent, most of it absolutely none of my business. And, I can’t get enough of it.
Will you allow me to change the subject for a moment? I promise that I’ll work my way back eventually. You know, I got a personal compliment today. A friend who was in the music store told me that I was really looking good. She had noticed that I’ve lost a good bit of weight recently. We talked some about how it happened. I told her that I quit eating solid food and am just drinking water and exercising three or four hours a day. I feel great!
Do you believe that for a moment? The part about not eating food, I mean. Of course you don’t! Don’t believe the part about exercising all those hours a day, either. I am losing weight. I do feel great. But, the way I got here has not been nearly as drastic as a starvation diet and a boot camp-like exercise regimen. A couple of months ago, I determined that what I needed to do was to make changes in both my diet and physical lifestyles. I still eat. Just not as much, and not the same unhealthy foods I once did. I’m not going to describe what I do and don’t eat, but I’ll tell you that there is self-discipline required to make the changes, both in diet and physical activity. When I eat more calories than I should, I have to work to burn more calories than I have taken in. It’s a pretty simple equation.
Here’s the point. We have to eat. We have to exercise. Both are an essential part of life. I’m working at making better choices about the ratio of one to the other.
In exactly the same way, we have to make sure that we are not filling our minds with drivel, with voyeuristic garbage, which cannot aid one iota in attaining our goal to become the persons we were intended to be. At the same time, we must continue to take in beneficial data, the kind that can be digested and directed to improve our spiritual and emotional physique. Choices are made; discipline is exercised, and we become better people, not just slovenly know-it-alls who have no possible use for the trivial slop that fills our heads. We can’t continue to feed at the pig trough without expecting to become something akin to the intellectual diet we are taking in.
I am going to start on my information diet and exercise regimen immediately. Fewer clicks on random posts that look interesting should be a good place to begin. We’ll see where it goes from there.
I bet there may be a few of you who have some good ideas about next steps. Why don’t you send them to me? I’ll try to share them with other readers as time allows.
Time to push away from the feeding trough. The lifestyle change starts today.
Maybe you could join me.
“And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.“
“Statistics show that, of those who contract the habit of eating, very few survive.“
(George Bernard Shaw~Irish playwright~1856-1950)
© Paul Phillips. He’s Taken Leave. 2013. All Rights Reserved.
Did you enjoy this post? Let your friends know about it by “liking” our page on Facebook!