I love the people around me. I love making friends through facebook or twitter or (now) google+. But what would happen to me if I “killed myself” in social media. And also killed exposure to the outside world other than for just work purposes.
What would happen to me if I:
A) Eliminated (not just took a break from, but totally eliminated) my twitter account. 19,000 followers down the drain.
B) Eliminated my facebook account: lose touch with my 1800 friends unless they really wanted to keep in touch with me by visiting and writing hand-written letters.
C) Eliminated my gmail account. No more emails from anyone or to anyone ever again except for important work purposes. Goes for Google+ also. US-mail letters ok.
D) Only gave my phone number to my closest friends. And call them only to get together with them on occasion.
E) Spent more time with kids and wife.
F) For god’s sake, stop trying to add to my list of Chinese weibo followers (2000 and strong! Can anyone out there speak Mandarin?).
G) Wrote for my blog out of the sheer joy I get in writing and for no other reason.
H) Took off all methods of measuring my blog statistics.
I) No more writing for financial sites. They are all wrong and contradictory. And people can’t generate wealth by buying stocks. More likely they go broke even as the market goes up.
J) No more going on TV to talk about “Dow 20,000”. I believe in everything I say. But too many people don’t believe in what I say and then throw their anger in my face. Makes me unhappy even though I try not to care. And “good TV” is all about fighting. From now on if anyone challenges me on TV I’m going to challenge them to a fist fight.
K) Spend more time with friends in person.
L) Don’t care about my Amazon rank for any of my books.
M) Eliminate my accounts on various Internet chess servers. Only play chess in person, like back in the day when I derived real pleasure from it when I was a kid.
N) No newspapers or magazines. They just try to scare you. I don’t need to be scared if I’m trying to be happy. And gossip rags just make me feel jealousy, or vicarious pleasure instead of real pleasure.
O) No more TV. For instance, I love “LOST”. But now I get anxious when a plane experiences turbulence. And I love “Californication” but now I think everybody I know is having sex all the time with David Duchovny or Rick Springfield. I don’t even like to think random girls on the street that I don’t know are having sex with Rick Springfield
P) No more bagels or cookies. They are too hard to digest for me. Who needs the agony in the middle of the night?
Q) Don’t eat past 4pm. Same reason.
R) Don’t wear dark clothes. Only wear only white clothes. Like Mark Twain did after his wife died. I feel happier when I’m wearing white. Unfortunately, very few people (Tom Wolfe? And even then its probably an affectation of some sort) wear only white. People would say, “oh, that’s like Tom Wolfe”, if I did it. So it would start to ruin my pleasure from it. And on TV (see above), wearing white is a big no-no I was just told.
What would I become? Would I even be human anymore? Would people stop liking me? Would I stop liking people? Would I just disappear? Would I be uncontrollably anxious? Or would I be relaxed?
These are all “leaks” for me. Nothing is Black or White! There’s three ways each leak effects us: mild, moderate, intense. Mild (with emails, for instance) is: check once a week or once a month. Moderate is check at the same time each day, respond to everything immediately, and that’s that. Intense is checking all day long, never being disconnected.
I’m INTENSE with all of the above. This is the state I think most people are in. Make your own list of leaks if different from the above.
If you are at the intense point in a leak, don’t go to elimination. If you are addicted to five pills a day you might die if you go down to zero pills right away. Just go down to moderate. If at the moderate point, just go to mild. If at mild, you can consider total elimination of the leak. Or not. Keep your small pleasures. If you want to have sex with 10 different hookers a week maybe just try going to eight before going to zero.
However, all of these things independently make me a little bit happy. I like, for instance, meeting new people on Facebook. I like getting emails. I like seeing facebook likes on my blog posts although it makes me sad if I don’t get as much as I would like. I loved the TV show “Lost”. But these are all fleeting. When an episode of Lost finished (or when the entire series finished) I was sad. I wanted more. I felt a pang of anxiousness in my stomach.
Happiness is a dominatrix teasing me with a feather and she won’t even kiss me while all of the above keep me chained and gagged to a chair in the middle of a decrepit hotel room. So maybe there’s pleasure in the masochism. That’s ok also. I’m a bit of a masochist. But it can’t control your life. I need to take control sometimes.
Maybe every day I can move a leak from Intense to Moderate. Take it slow. Doesn’t have to be black or white. All of the items above are so intense for me it would be pleasurable to just reduce intensity. Maybe you can do it with me. Even being aware of the leaks (and labeling them “Mild”, “Moderate”, or “Intense”) is a very powerful start. Powerful starts lead to Power in the end.
Maybe the day I die I won’t be thinking of any of the above. Hopefully I’ll have balance by then and all of the leaks are mild or eliminated.
Maybe on that day I’ll see only one face in front of me… And I’ll kiss her one last time.