Sunday, May 20, 2007


Something happened. A switch flipped in my head. Suddenly simple decisions that used to go one way now go another with absolute clarity.

Case 1. Television

One week of TV Turn Off Week and I realized, I don’t have any reason I want to watch television. I don’t miss it and I can’t think of a single way it has improved me, with the possible exception of some cooking shows I suppose. But the decision to stop entirely was very easy to make when it was something I struggled with for years before.

Case 2. Gaming

One day it clicked and I can’t understand why I even spent hundreds of hours playing pointless game. WoW, EQ, XBox, N64, Wii, where did the time go? What did I get for it? How could I have paid that much cost and have so little to show for it.
Case 3. Working Out

I started working with a personal trainer. I do cardio all the time. I want to do these things that before I struggled with doing even once a week. I schedule around my training sessions and I plan cardio sessions because I look forward to them. If you had told me 2 months ago I could still be like this, I’m not sure I would have believed you.

Case 4. Eating

It has become so much easier to make healthy choices at restaurants. I don’t feel obliged to eat everything on my plate. I avoid most sauces, sweet sauces especially. I eat lots more vegetables. It has become hard to pick the bad choices and I am unhappy when that is all the choice I have. I will go out of my way to get something better for me because I know I value it and it is important to me.

Case 5. Going Dry

Yesterday, it crystallized for me that I no longer value smoking and drinking. The idiosyncrasies I cherished in smoking strange things – clove cigarettes, hookah, imports, pipe – just don’t matter enough to pay the physical cost. In fact, what I valued before was just a superficial trait that isn’t important to me now.

It is the same with alcohol. I loved the variety. I loved learning to enjoy the many varied traits of a drink. I even loved connecting with people by sharing their ethnic drinks. The only one of those I might miss is connecting with people and if I can’t find other ways to connect, I can’t be trying very hard.

The point is, suddenly, scales that were broken inside me, scales I used to judge where to put my time, my energy, my health, my love, those scales are working again and working full time. They don’t stop. Everything I do is judged. Things found wanting are thrown out. It is frightening because I barely recognize the me that I feel I am becoming. It is hard to tell if I am becoming more me or becoming someone new.

As my life simplifies under the weight of these scales, I know that something remarkable is happening. I don’t understand it but it IS getting easier to decide what to do now based on my values. Everything is much clearer and the fog that confused me is rapidly burning away. I’m overjoyed that at least some things I valued are still tremendously important to me. Going to St. John’s College. Loving my wife. Helping people. I never completely lost my way but it is suddenly like I’ve moved into the express lanes of my live and most of the distractions are dropping away.

Change is frightening, even terrifying, but I think I’m in for a wild ride.

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