A Day of No Consumption
I haven't had a job for two months now. I can't go travel or socialize outside of the house because of Covid19. Because of this I've had a lot of time to myself.
While I'm spending a lot of time trying to find a new job, figuring out where my life will go from here, working on the house, going to the dump, and annoying the cat, I still have much more time awake and to myself than I've had in my entire adult life.
I'd like to think that I would be using this time to write the Great American Novel or become a master at juggling, but this hasn't been the case.
In reality, I've spent the majority of my hours during this free time consuming.
Not consuming as in eating - although I've done my fair share of that. I am referring to the act of taking in the creations of other human beings. In other words, watching tv, playing video games, reading blogs and news articles, listening to music and podcasts.
On the surface, there is nothing wrong with consuming. What would the world be without the beauty of art and music and the thought provoking articles written by true journalists. Not to mention the fact that we live in a new Golden Age of Television and that video games now tell stories with mythos and world-building to rival many magical or historical classics. And people should take the time to experience all of these things. Art is vital. Gathering facts about the world is important.
The problem is, all I have been doing is consuming. My eyes watch and my ears listen and my brain swallows it all. Sometimes this happens in an alert and attentive state in which I am actively participating mentally and using the experience to grow as a person. Sometimes, and more and more often, it happens in a mindless stupor in which I am killing time until I can eat again or go to bed. And sometimes I consume in a fugue rage state; unable to turn away from the tv or the computer as a fire-hose of information is blasted into my brain.
The latter is happening more and more frequently, especially with the havoc and unrest and protests and politics and divisions and tweets and youtube and facebook and checking sources and liking and sharing and trying to look at all sides to be sure you're not in a bubble and ending up in a rabbit hole where flat-earthers are arguing against anit-vaxxers about who is the biggest group of blind sheep...
I could, and do, spend my time discussing these things. I have in the recent past and I will in the very near future.
But, I can't today.
Today, I have told myself that I can not consume. It is my Day of No Consumption.
I wanted to say I Will Not Consume - but after two months of full time consumption, and decades of television and books and social media, I am not sure I am up to the full challenge and I am preemptively forgiving myself for turning on the tv as I plop down to dinner or checking reddit while I sit on the john.
I wanted to say Day of Creation - but that puts too much onus on 'creativity', a loaded word that, to me, means 'good at something artistic.'
I will spend my day doing. And if I can’t find something to ‘do’, I will spend my day being.
I will spend my day writing a blog, gardening, building a saw-horse, painting, hiking, re-organizing, planning, meditating… all of the above, or none of the above. No pressure to create. Not yet. I am starting at the beginning. The first step.