hello from a reforming jundland wastes hermit [long message below]
hi again from the over-pontificating quasi-hermit.
around thanksgiving last year, i kind of slowly retreated from all my web (and real-life) social circles and took a little time to rethink my life. i kind of preemptively adopted a few "resolutions" to correct my course over the last month of the year, and i've been trying to add to and streamline those ever since.
over the last week, i kind of slipped back into some bad habits, and today i had to remind myself of the goals i'd set for myself.
to that end, i pulled out a letter i'd drafted about it for my social media circles. i never sent it, but i kept it for posterity's sake.
some of it is irrelevant to MLTSHP people, but you'll get the idea. i'm still trying to decide if i will post this across the rest of the internet. let me know what you think.
hi, my friends. happy new year.
i know you haven’t seen me much lately and i’m sorry about that. i want to be more present in 2018, and that means you might see more of me in some ways and less of me in others. i haven’t made a sweeping disavowment of social media or turned into a jundland wastes hermit, but i am working on turning over a new leaf, and some of that is making for less online time. if you don’t mind giving me a minute or two to elaborate and pontificate. feel free to call me out if this feels like BS pseudo-intellectual posturing.
2017 wasn’t a bad year for me on a personal level (in fact, there were some downright lovely points), but it was a socially and politically stressing one for prettymuch all of us. i slipped into some familiar bad habits- trying to keep up, i got overstimulated, paralyzed, and gave up. i binged hour after hour of tv, to the point that i could barely remember half of what i’d seen. some of it was even quite good, but that wasn’t the point. the point was that i got exhausted trying to stay engaged in the world and started filling the void with mindless repetition. i ordered takeout far more than i could afford to comfort myself. i bought thingamabobs not because i needed them but because it was something trite to obsess over and control.
the same happened, i think, with social media. i got some amazing input from lots of wonderful people from all walks of life over the last year, and i loved that, but i also found myself tending toward the endlessly consumable - the meme, the pop culture listicle, anything to avoid the world at hand- and it took up a lot of my day. even when i was having lunch with my amazing coworkers or out with real-world friends, i was scrolling twitter, facebook, or instagram through half of it.
and i spent a lot of time saying silly stuff to fill the space. here’s a tv quote, there’s a meme, here’s a picture of my gear. the world doesn’t need more of it. that’s my defense- pop silliness, nonsense, something that fills the void but doesn’t assign me responsibility for an important issue. i have been one of those dudes that makes a joke in a very real conversation or thread, and i am sorry about that. there’s nothing wrong with a joke now and again, but it sometimes gets in the way of people saying what they need to say.
i need to sit back and listen to the stories others tell and try to accommodate that. one of the best part of 2017 was seeing people with a different experience from mine tell a story that changed how i perceived the world or how i behaved- women and people of other gender persuasions telling men what was hurting them, people from other parts of the world pointing out the things americans do that hurt their position, people from other political bents and socioeconomic backgrounds who want us to know what we’ve misunderstood about them, etc. i know i’m guilty of a lot of faux pas and i want to learn from what is outside my own tiny bubble.
at the end of the day, i want 2018 to be about reducing the volume of influx and focusing on the good stuff. more time listening and more time engaging. setting my ipad down and talking foreign policy with my coworkers. turning off the tv and reading 50 pages of a novel or part of an academic paper. fighting my urge to post frasier memes, argue about the merits of “the last jedi”, or quote another obscure line, and instead engage in a conversation about what i need to do, what i need to know, and what i need to be.
and part of that process is making myself work again, physically, mentally, emotionally, and even financially. i want you all to know i finally got the number for my employer’s EAP so that i can begin addressing some of my anxiety and depression issues. i got geared up so i can keep walking most of the places i go. i got signed back up to some learning resources. i’m going to pay off my library fees and buy into the co-op. i’m unplugging my credit cards from some apps or deleting others.
but i need help too. here are a few thing that i’d like to throw out there.
- i haven’t been to a local chambana show in a long time and i miss it but sometimes i have a little difficulty getting myself to go to a social event. is there anyone willing to be my “show buddy” and go with me to keep me from staying home all the time? - will you let me know if you see interesting career opportunities of an academic, research, or public service nature? i love my work with my current employer and it has enriched my life in a lot of ways, but i am ready to explore new opportunities in life too. i think my heart is telling me i wasn't meant for the commercial world. - will you call me on my bullshit? let me know if i forget your pronouns or say something euro-centric/privileged/dismissive or insult the hard work you’ve done in life. tell me if i'm being defeatist or giving up. i KNOW that i am super oblivious to a lot of things and i want to learn to be better. - likewise, if you see me slacking on my self-improvement, will you call me on it? slap that candy bar out of my hand, dissuade me from buying that gear i can't afford. i know how easy it is to get frustrated and just "pamper myself" for one day- but one day of slipping is losing weeks of progress. - if you speak japanese, will you practice with me? i abandoned learning the language a decade ago, but it was one of the few things i really enjoyed doing (and one of the few languages i structurally understood pretty well)