Getting back to basics...
As I get more sober time in the bank I am finding that the fog that has engulfed my thoughts is beginning to lift and clear - don't get me wrong it is far from sunshine and clear skies in there but it is definitely improving.
It has been a really emotional time recently on a number of levels and I am realising I have much to work on. I have been flooded and overwhelmed at times with memories, feelings and emotions previously surpressed beneath the alcohol and mind fog. I feel I am finally discovering myself a little bit. I got to be honest I am not sure how to handle it all right now but, as hard as it is, I know I am growing as a person. I am finally getting some clarity not only as to who I am and who I have been, but moreover more clarity on the person I wish to be for my family but also for me. If I am to have a better realtionship with me then things have to change.
This blog is a massive part of that. I can't wait to get out there and start posting my photos, sketches and thoughts as I get some steps under my belt and explore the landscapes and coastlines around us.... but for now its about these mental challenges. My distinct lack of empathy and understanding. My inability to read situations and people. My inability to express emotion. My inability to stand up for myself or for what I believe in. I could literally give you a list of 20 things right now that I can now see have defined me for so long. But also having bought a Mind Journal over a year ago now I finally picked it up with intent and started to write. It felt good. It felt strange but it felt good.
Anyway I am waffling. Where I am trying to go with all of this?
I have decided to get back to basics.
I am questioning everything in my life in terms of taking a step back and just asking what does that thing give to me. First up was alcohol. That is a tick in the box so far. For ever aspect of drinking that I believed was positive I found I came up with a list of 10 things to counteract that position. My blue analytical brain did the very simple maths that said there were far more downsides to upsides so it has gone.
Next up is Social Media. I have never really got to grips with Social Media. I have been on practically every main platform, probably jumping on it long after it was trendy, but I have been there. Again this weekend I took the decision to back away from all platforms (with the exception of Twitter as I need to get the ice hockey score updates lol). Taking the same rational, analytical approach I just simply asked myself why am I on each platform and what does it do for me and what impact does it have.
The answers were swift and unanimous. With the exception of a few giggles from Tik Tok I have to say I get very little from any platform. It eats time. It distracts. It peppers your brain with imagery and noise that just feels messy and toxic. I felt a pressure to post. A pressure to like or show appreciation. A need for validation from people I don't actually know. Constantly picking up your phone to look at the screen wondering if there was a new notifcation from somewhere. The anxiety it breeds is insane.
All very bizarre when you take a step back.
Even something like Strava I found I could often feel guilty if I didn't post some form of exercise up on a regular basis. Why? I don't think this is a me thing. I believe a lot of people would feel this way. How many t-shirts carry the slogan "if it is not on strava it didn't happen?" or "if I collapse can someone stop my strava" - you get the idea. We have placed the need to be on, and be visible in, the fake world of social media at the centre of society and I don't like it. I simply do not like it.
These platforms are not only impacting your mind but actually causing behavioural change. I actually felt a little sick in my stomach when this reality hit me. I am not exaggerating when I say it felt a little apocalyptic when you play it all forward. Throw in the rise of AI and the very real prospect that Cyberdyne Systems is maybe 1 or 2 Chat GPT upgrades away from reality and the idea of a life off grid is suddenly looking very appealing.
I want a simple life. People close to me know my number and can WhatsApp me and check in should they wish and ultimately what more do you need. I want to exist for my wife and my kids not for an online audience. I intend to keep this blog going and start to build up some photography albums as I get out and about. I will use WhatsApp to stay in touch and I will keep Twitter to keep up to speed with my son's ice hockey as he travels the country with MK Lightning and Team GB. And that is me.
My intention is I will stay off for 3 months and will check in each month with an entry in my Mind Journal just to reflect on what I miss (if anything) and how my life has changed without it. It may be I decide I want it all back but I have to say I feel a massive cloud and pressure has lifted just by deactivating all these platforms. It was honestly an instant hit. I already feel happier in myself already.
and in the words of Vinnie Jones - it has been emotional!