Ideas are like magnets, or planets, pulling you towards them. They have a special force about them that hypnotizes us into thinking that everything is black and white, that lines are neatly drawn between healthy and unhealthy, good for you and bad for you, happy and depressed and sad and content, etc. My last year of lifestyle experimentation has resulted in my questioning how health and happiness are related, how being smart and being happy are related, how knowing what is right for you and happiness are related. It's crucially important to understand how things are related to happiness because it is this crazy thing that you cannot get directly and yet it is the gold of this world. Complete this sentence for me:
The first step to becoming happy is...
It can be the first step of a thousand or a million or even infinite things, but where do you start? Without being able to start, there is (ready for this shocker?) no way to start! Have you started yet or what?
Here's my first step... to watch yourself. A lot of times when I look at myself I see ideas. I am a person that likes to go 80s dancing. I am a person that likes to have time to myself. I am a person that has to enjoy what he does at work. When you look at yourself and you see an idea, you're not really seeing yourself. You're seeing a magnet, or a planet, that has pulled you towards it. Put on your anti-gravitation suit and try again. Watch yourself... what do you actually spend your time doing during the day? What do you actually think about? When are you happy and when are you sad?
Okay, stop watching yourself. That really doesn't help either. It helps make you a bit obsessive compulsive, though. Which I really enjoy by the way. In fact, I'm taking it to the next level soon. While recording my morale for the last year, I think I've learned that the 1-10 system has its flaws. For example, some people think 5 is average, others think 7 is average. But nobody thinks 6 is average. I'm going to change my scale to a -10-10 system soon. 0 is therefore more obviously average. Also, it's going to work better with my morale-feedback scoring system which will work with my happiness game. It's all a bit crazy if you're wondering. But just as people can use bio-feedback to learn how to regulate their own heart rates and stress levels, I think I'll be able to learn how to regulate my own happiness with this morale-feedback system... it's basically going to track my morale along with an evolving point system of my daily activities and I will strive to make the point system become in sync with the morale trends... ultimately getting more points when the point system chart mirrors the morale-o-meter chart.
On the allure of being unhealthy and unhappy. It makes me easier to relate to. Anyone can relate to a fuck-up. In the meantime, I'm really curious about the real boundaries of the body. How much do I have to drink before I REALLY AM an alcoholic? How much do I need to smoke before I ACTUALLY WANT a cigarette? How little sleep can I get before I can no longer function? The ideas of alcoholism, smoking, and general health are some of the most gravitational of our society. Surely they're already punching their ways out of your heads as you read this. It's like the first time I got drunk or high... I had no idea for the range involved and ended up way overshooting the mark each time. But now I know what the range is... and that's something that some people may not know. It's important to know where real thresholds lay, and not to rely on the idea of thresholds. It's part of not learning from experience (in this case, second hand experience). And what if I did become an alcoholic, would that really change things that much (again, resist the punching of the ideas in your head... have you been an alcoholic? Do you know that it's ALWAYS bad or have you just been trained to think that? Is there anything that we think that we haven't been trained to think though? Nothing is always one way. There's only one difference between geniuses and crazy people--both of them will do the same stupid thing over and over and over and over again against all reason and better judgement--but geniuses eventually prove themselves and crazy people don't.
I've been identifying myself with unhealthy activities for almost a year now... I now see what it's like... and also see that it does have its advantages and disadvantages. In the name of not giving into gravity, I am seriously considering flopping back to healthiness (especially as my bronchitis kicks in and I don't want to have another 3 months of hacking and coughing). Does this mean I am going to go on the wagon (or off the wagon... I forget which)? No, but I won't make a point of my wagon-orientation as often as I do... it'll be another uninteresting neither here nor there fact about me. And I am thinking of dusting off my running shoes too, and getting a few other parts of my life in order. Why not? See, I don't want to give up one idea for another... I'd rather live in the empty space between ideas where things float and bounce off one another willy nilly and no line can be drawn between here and there and that other place. I'll check back in a bit later.