It's 5:16am on the 31st of December, 2019 as I write this.
I've got 1985's Angel's Egg playing in the background, a collaboration between one of my favourite illustrators, Yoshitaka Amano, known for his Final Fantasy art, and Mamoru Oshii, creator of Ghost In The Shell.
I've recently made a few shifts, which I feel are healthy ones, and which I've already started to notice the benefits of. You see, one of my traits is a tendency to ferret away obsessively on onerous tasks (lets just say lots of list-making and scrolling was involved) which do not, in and of themselves, produce any real results, aside from a huge swathe of time - time that could have been devoted to learning, creating, and experiencing life - having been essentially wasted.
It just so happens that a new decade begins tomorrow, and while the timing of these shifts might suggest a new year's resolution-type of commitment, it doesn't feel like it was consciously timed to the year, or the decade, coming to a close. These are the shifts, such as they are:
No more social media.
Out of my 1000 minutes of waking hours per day, I spent at least 800 on a combination of social media platforms, mostly Instagram, endlessly checking for updates and creating posts (nearly 100% of which were re-posts), rationalising to myself that 'I was creating content' and 'building a network/chronicle'. The reality is that I would spend precious hours of my life not producing anything, just regurgitating hash-tagged images in the vain pursuit of more followers.
This site is now my sole public platform, and firstname.lastname@example.org my only form of online contact.
No more notes.
When I wasn't on social media, I kept between 10 to 15 constantly updated notes on my three main devices - iPhone, MacBook and iPad. I had a calendar note, one for journalling, another for art & entertainment release dates, and a dozen other, essentially useless logs. Useless, quite simply, because just like social media, it was another self-rationalised OCD-quenching process (I had a seriously life-impacting case of OCD in 2005, to the point where I would move bins away from walls just so I could walk to the left/right of them. One day I couldn't decide wether to walk to the left or right of a stop sign, and my self-preservation instincts kicked in, helping me in turn to kick the habit in its most severe form), self-rationalised as 'productivity'.
Again, the reality is the complete opposite: I drowned endless hours in list-making, all energy that could have been directed towards more worthwhile endeavours (learning, creating, socialising, growing as a person).
No more creating podcasts.
This is a big one. At some point, I convinced myself that simply because I was able to claim official-sounding usernames such as 'thekojimapodcast' or 'disneypodcast', that this obligated me to start and host said podcasts. Three-for-three: along with notes and social media, yet another self-sublimated 'opportunity-creating platform'. The simple fact is that I enjoy listening to some podcasts, but honest-to-goodness, I do not enjoy any other aspect of them: designing the cover art always felt like an essentially non-creative chore. I love speaking with people, but the very premise of recording the conversation inherently strips away the most basic layer of authenticity - because you're being recorded. That means those certain levels of candour, idiosyncrasy and delightfully non-podcast-friendly ways of expressing oneself are implicitly off-limits, because you have to bring the conversation back to what the podcast is about. And again, I really respect those for whom such a premise comes naturally, and as mentioned before, I do enjoy some shows. But I myself am not suited for actually making them. Self-narrated obligation to do things is highly toxic, folks.
Just a day or so after these shifts, I've noticed myself feel less burdened: by anxiety, by depression, by distraction. I've felt more present, more creative, more receptive to the moment, to others. More excited about life, and about actually getting things done, chiefly my patternmaking, my storytelling (actual writing, not creating endless lists of names and descriptions) and designing (clothing and items).
With these shifts, I hope to contribute to the decline of (and leave a legacy of someone who chose to defy) those habits and behaviours that have made humanity more desensitised, insecure, self-obsessed, and about fifty other negative or unhealthy psychological and/or physical conditions since the rise of the internet.
I suppose if there's one thing I'd feel good knowing about whoever reads this post, is that after doing so, they use my story as an example for how to live their lives better.
It's 6:04am as I finish writing this. Light is starting to creep through my window. There are 15 minutes left of Angel's Egg, an animation masterpiece made by two incredible artists with truly significant and impactful legacies - neither of which are on any form of social media.
Fiercely curate your lives.
Bring your habits and behaviours into alignment with who you truly are, or you'll simply become another mindless scroller-consumer - forgotten to the present moment, to history, to time.