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October 20, 2016

Hobbies/Life Changes Thread

Texas Zombie posted somethng I liked. Except for one thing. You'll know it when you see it.

Make a little game for yourself -- what sentence made Ace mad here?

But the rest of it is good.

Alright guys, help me out with something. I am so weary of this election, the SJWization of America, and our national politics in general. But I can't help myself, I consume a ridiculous amount of political news every day. And of course it is mostly depressing. And then I feel compelled to try and combat some of the ignorance by posting stuff on Facebook which let's face it mostly just pisses people off - including those in agreement - because they too are weary of all of this.

After the election I need to find some things to completely replace the time, effort, and mental energy I spend on politics. I need to just wash my hands and be done with it. At least for a while. I don't think my constant and compulsive refreshing of my browser tabs in hopes that there is some new news item available to be digested is healthy at all. Really need to quit this cold turkey. After the election of course. So help me think up some stuff to divert myself into - something to binge on rather than politics. (I don't want to ditch the HQ but maybe just come for the non political stuff like the medical monitoring and book thread.)

One thing that will make this hard is that a ton of my political consumption happens during the work day because I have a job that is compatible with that.

Here are some things I am thinking of doing to help shift my time and mental energy away from politics. Some big things and some little, symbolic things.

- Read more books. I have a ton of books that I have bought and not read because I spend too much time reading political stuff online. This is probably the single biggest/easiest way for me to shift brain power away from politics.

- Delete all political sites from my favorites. Symbolic but helpful.

- Throw myself into developing a love for a new sport. Maybe baseball. I have never been able to get into it but have been watching this years playoffs. For most of my life the only sport I have followed closely has been the NFL. Not sure I can develop a true passion for a new sport at this time in my life but maybe I can.

- Only carry my cell phone with me when I really need to have it. That way I can't just be constantly browsing on it. That's probably a good life change regardless.

- Ditch the smart phone and go back to a dumb cell phone. That seems like a radical change but maybe it's time.

- Take my kids on evening outings outside of the neighborhood. Find some local fishing holes and do some soul therapy with a rod and a reel.

- Sign up for a class of some kind. Learn a new language or take a cooking class or something.

- Take up a hobby. I just don't know what it would be though. Politics has been my hobby. I am worried that I won't be able to find something of equal interest to replace it with.

- Delete all my social media accounts. (Not a bad idea anyway.)

- Set up a couple of dedicated but inexpensive weekly gatherings with friends who aren't really political. Thursday night football at the local wing joint and whatnot.

What are some other things I can do to fill the void if I cut politics out of my life? Needs to be things that don't involve spending a crap ton of money like go to the gun range every day. Yeah, would love to do that, but I have kids and kids are pretty spendy so I don't have a lot of loose cash burning a hole in my pocket.

Also, anyone else feeling the same way about this? Anyone else ready to just say the hell with it - time to cut politics out of my life to the greatest extent possible?

This is what I'm trying, and what I've been advocating. I fail a lot -- I'm watching The New Season of Lame TV Shows again, despite my vow to stop.

And I'm not reading as much as I vowed. I'm reading, but not every night. It really needs to be an every-night thing.

I have picked up a new sport and am working on my GAINZZZ, as I might have mentioned once or twice in passing.

On the cellphone thing, I've never had a problem with this. I'm not one of those people who's always checking his cellphone, and I feel bad for people who do.

I think life is meant to be lived. I think human beings are meant to live in the three-dimensional world of air and light and breath and blood and not just reduce themselves to machines in the service of lesser machines. The cellphone is supposed to be aid to make living life easier, not a shackle that keeps your head bowed to it as life occurs in the background, while you're checking your newsfeeds and to see if you got Retweeted on twitter.

I think the right word is presence. You're supposed to be present in your own life, not someone who occasionally checks in on it while multitasking on Twitter.

I have a pretty unshakable habit that the phone is reserved for talking to people, making plans via IMs where I will see actual people, summoning Uber, and tracking my GAINZZZ.

When I'm out with people, the phone is not involved.

In fact, when i'm alone, the phone is also not involved. Apart from the uses I mention above, the only time I do social media or email on the phone is when I've turned off my computer to let it cool down and am looking for the next story to post.

Anyway, presence, not just physical presence, but actual mental, cognitive, perceptive presence in the real world, is, I think, a major key to using the human body and mind as they were intended to be used.

And I think absence from that world is what causes so much depression and stress in the current age.

I think the body and mind send subtle signals through emotions, and one of the signals they're sending is an aversion to self-imposed absence from the real world of challenge and miracles.

I think there's an internet-onset form of depression that is the body's and mind's (and spirit's) way of telling their owners: This is not the purpose for which we were made.

People think they're "connected" by their phones and social media accounts. Yes, they're "connected" to those things.

Do they ever pause to wonder what they've disconnected from in order to make those connections?

The other thing Texas Zombie mentions -- learning. A new language, a new sport, a new hobby. Chess, gardening, banzai grooming, fencing -- whatever.

I personally used to hate learning. I learned to hate learning as a child, because adults were bossing me around and forcing me to learn things I thought were boring.

But once you're an adult, if you can get over that early aversion to the process of learning, you get to learn the things you're really interested in, and kind of turns you on. (Mentally, I mean.)

And I have to say that learning is actually fun. Now that I'm learning again, I feel pretty lame for letting so many years lapse without learning.

It's actually a deeply satisfying thing. It feels right. It feels like there's some actual forward progress in your life. It feels something like illumination.

It's like GAINZZZ for your BRAINZZZ.

Anyway, while I don't like Texas Zombie's claim to delete all political sites from favorites, I do think everything else on his list is pretty good advice.

Now, I really have to stop watching the stupid zombie-habit shows I'm wasting my time with. Like I said I would do, but then, get this, did not do.

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posted by Ace at 01:39 PM

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