My new lifestyle has a lot of perks. More free time, no boss looking over my shoulder, getting to use my brain to its full capacity.
But one of the challenges has been a sense of social isolation. This is why my phone, and the internet, is such a tempting salve to this nagging itch. I’ve come to over-rely on it to feel connected. Swipe swipe swipe. Matched with a girl. Never message her. Repeat.
I travel for this job, and am finding myself in cities I don’t know, surrounded by people I don’t know. I have my days free, and teach at night. With this lack of structure, I fall too easily into a pattern of sleeping late, staring at my phone, and doing nothing with my days. I didn’t realize how much the “9-to-5” type of job actually helped keep my momentum up.
It’s a challenge I’m still working through. Building good habits becomes even more important when your life is in constant flux. One thing I realized today is that it’s much easier to get lost in an echo chamber of your own thoughts when you spend all day alone. It’s unnatural, and invokes a primal sense of fear– the sense of being lost from the tribe.
But something that seems to be working for me is getting out. Forcing myself to put on some pants, and walk outside. Get in my car, and go. Even if I’m tired and don’t feel like working out, I go to the gym. I’m around people. And today, I’m sitting at a coffee shop, and I feel immediately more at ease. I’m even able to concentrate enough to sit down and write this post. And before I wrote this, I was working on another piece I’ll publish soon.
Overall, it is calming to be around people, even strangers, just to know that the world is still here. Other people are all around us. It’s a nice bonus to know that if a pretty girl sits down next to me, there’s a great chance I’ll end up with her phone number.
So much suffering comes from our thoughts gaining monstrous proportions and weight in relation to the rest of our being. Sometimes mine feel like a megaphone, or concrete being poured over me. Just physically being around others can quiet this noise.
I think this will have to become an integral part of my daily routine. If I’m going to waste all day on the internet, I might as well be doing it around other human beings, in public, as part of society. Perhaps then I can channel everything I’m feeling into a productive direction, writing, telling stories about girls giving me handjobs… you know, really contributing to the Western literary canon.