The last week has been overwhelming. Hell, the last six months have been overwhelming, but the last week in particular. There’s something about a straw and a camel in there somewhere.
I’m taking some measures to cultivate sanity. They involve silencing my phone, closing tabs, managing social media perusal, and declining invites. I’m over-stimulated, overwrought, distracted and wholly addicted to staying ‘connected’, ‘current’, ‘busy‘.
And it’s a load of shit.
The busier I get, the more I scroll through Facebook and Twitter, the more I get whatsapp’d, bbm’d, emailed and skyped, the less present I am and the more anxious. I’m so distracted by the relentless stream of stimuli coming my way, the constant array of snippets of other peoples’ lives (with which I create long, convoluted fiction), the habitual phone checking to affirm my worth, that most of the time I can barely get my work done. I lose all perspective; and contemplate medication to take the edge off.
The busier I am, the less time I have to think about the aching big questions, the ones that wake me at 3am in the morning, the ones that creep up on me during my ashtanga practice, the ones that trigger desolate, startling tears on the way home from somewhere in the early hours of the morning. I’m doing cool things, socialising with people I like (and sometimes even love), solidly creating the appearance of an admirable life … and still feeling frenziedly anxious about my place in the world, whether I’m making a valuable contribution as a human being, whether I am a valuable human being.
“Busyness serves as a kind of existential reassurance, a hedge against emptiness; obviously your life cannot possibly be silly or trivial or meaningless if you are so busy, completely booked, in demand every hour of the day…I can’t help but wonder whether all this histrionic exhaustion isn’t a way of covering up the fact that most of what we do doesn’t matter.”
The busier I am, the more distracted by floating flotsam, the never-ending onslaught of information, the less time I have to deal with my feelings, the lumbering elephants parading through the room. And, well, I have a lot of feelings; barely covered by a thin veneer of togetherness, busyness, importance. The busier I am, the emptier I feel, clutching a smartphone in the hopes of connection, a confirmation that I’ve flitted through someone’s mind long enough for them to tap out an instant message.
So here it is: a Saturday night’s plans cancelled, a night in, and a phone switched off. And many thoughts. Here’s hoping for some perspective and clarity, a bolt of light. Or even a spark.