December 3, 2015

News Alert: I Have an Additional F for Thanksgiving – Freedom from My Blog Addiction

On Monday, I posted the first in a planned five-part series on the major things in my life for which I am thankful. Naturally, I started with family. I'll add posts about friends, fun, finances and my final days. I planned on doing one post a day, ending the series on Friday.

Tuesday was a busy day. The heating/AC contractor was scheduled to arrive between 10am and noon to give me an estimate for a new unit in my former garage, which has been converted into a bedroom. I had a 1:20pm appointment with my neurologist, and Joey -- my driver -- planned to pick me up at 12:45. Making things tight, the contractor showed up at 12.

In the morning, Bhawana told me that she had invited some friends in that evening as a surprise for Nimesh's birthday. (Nimesh and Bhawana are the Nepali couple who live with me.) So I ordered a Christmas centerpiece from my florist's catalog, and the rep at the shop told me it would arrive sometime after 2:30pm.

Fortunately, my doctor was right on time, so I even had time after the appointment to pick up a few things at the Whole Foods store across the street from my doctor's office. I hailed a cab and got home just before the florist delivery guy arrived.

In spare moments during the day, I worked on the affidavit of support I was preparing for a Nepali friend who is seeking a visitor's visa.

Since I wouldn't be involved in the birthday party, I figured I could work on the blog post that evening. If I didn't complete it, I'd finish it Wednesday morning and post it with Tuesday's date... a little back-dating trick I've used before.

But that little trick would put me behind the 8-ball on the post I was planning for Wednesday.

Blog Addict "Hits Rock  Bottom"
That quoted phrase is used in Alcoholics Anonymous meetings to describe the point at which an alcoholic finally decides he's had enough of his alcoholism and the problems it created.

I hope Tuesday was "rock bottom" for me and my blog addiction.

My recovery from my addictions to alcohol and nicotine requires that I completely abstain from cigarettes and alcohol. With the blog, what's required is moderation, something I need in so many areas of my life.

I've known for some time that the blog was taking over too much of my life. I think it has created tensions that even threatened my health. That's why I decided a month ago to blog every other week. But I hadn't yet recognized the full extent of my blogging insanity until I took stock after Tuesday's events.

Wednesday morning, I woke up around 3 o'clock for the usual bathroom visit. I often stay up for about an hour for what I call my "joy of quiet" time, during which I combine stretching exercises with meditation. I often use the bed post as a gym rail. I do some push-ups, hula hoop swings with my hips, and lots of improvised moves. I don't pay much attention to the exercises and I try to let my mind just wander. But sometimes, I get fixated on a particular issue.

That's what happened Wednesday morning. I actually stood at the bed rail for nearly two hours thinking about the blog addiction and what to do about it. Here are some of my thoughts:
  • Stanley works with me on the blog. When I get compliments on the blog's being well-written, I give much of the credit to Stanley. He is an excellent editor and a good writer. At first, I used him to simply edit my copy. But for a while now he's been writing many of the posts on new studies... on reports about Parkinson's and other health issues. We typically run four posts a week, with Stanley writing one of them. I suspect he'd like to do more. But unless I wrote most of the posts -- or so I've thought -- the blog wouldn't feel like mine. F-that. It's no big deal if he writes more posts than I do. I'm going to concentrate now on the "me" posts that deal primarily with what's going on in my life. Stanley is free to come up with as many posts as he wants. And I won't worry about the number of posts we publish each week.
  • Stanley and I have both become too obsessed with the stats on blog traffic. The platform we use provides data on the number of hits (or "pageviews") we get by day, week, month and "all time." It boosts our egos when we see the rising numbers -- from 245 hits during the blog's first month (November, 2010) to the 27,791 hits this past April. Unlike many blogs, mine doesn't carry advertisements, so there is no monetary gain from traffic. But now we have to reconcile ourselves to the fact that -- in light of my age and health -- we'll publish fewer posts now. That trend means it would be a miracle if we set any new monthly traffic records.
  • We both need to be more modest and realistic about our efforts. We often talk as if there are thousands of people out there -- logging on first thing each morning, hungry for the latest post. Jeez, what a tension-producing fantasy!
Are there hopeful signs that I may be regaining sanity? I didn't post anything on Tuesday or Wednesday. I'm finishing this post at 10am on Thursday. I should always do my blog "work" in the morning, when the process -- organizing my thoughts, dictating for my voice recognition software, making occasional keyboarding adjustments -- moves much faster for me.

Maybe you'll see a post tomorrow about my giving thanks for my friends. Then again, maybe you won't.


Anna said...

John, you are such an inspiration to this 60-year-old. I want to grow up to be just like you!

Much love.

Mary said...

Meant to say... Reading every word starting from your latest. Would love to read a new "me" post from you.

Hoping you won't consider me presumptuous asking... "What's going on in your life?"

Hoping you're doing well.

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