For me, most media is like cookie dough ice cream. Since I’ve started going grocery shopping frequently after my chiropractic appointments, I found a love first for cookies and cream ice cream, then the cookie dough seduced me further. Junk food is fine in small doses, like most media out there, but if my focus is writing, then, like eating better quality food, I should read and write more. How do I balance the two?
The first thing was realizing that I had this sugary addiction.
Next, I decided to stop buying the accidentally addicting ice cream during my previous supermarket meandry. Previously, I bought maybe four cartons of ice cream at a time, and had a freezer full of ice cream. I still have some, but now that this carton is nearly empty – sorry for the photo quality, I didn’t want to tempt myself with getting a better look for the ice cream, and, I could have opened the unopen one, but that didn’t feel right either, since it was about consuming the ice cream rather than properly displaying it – and I might be buying one or two more as I go, but definitely far fewer than I had.
I do have the ice cream to thank for increasing my appetite.
Now I need to shift that appetite over to healthier foods, as I’ve been doing, but with more intentionality. It’s been difficult for me to cook food with my rice cooker up until recently, but now I can put together some meals that are far more interesting to me than anything I might buy for several times more at most restaurants. That’s been another way of cutting out the addiction of fast food or restaurant-quality food. I dipped my budget into those foods when I needed them but now I don’t need them anymore. Is that rude? Thinking of foods in terms of needs? I’m not talking about people here, so it’s fine.
The same can go for media – YouTube videos were the most addictive for me.
My Watch Later list grows daily but I watch significantly fewer now, and, only as rewards for having done things. I’ve probably written this and forgotten this many time over the years, so it’s easy to call me a hypocrite in this regard, but each time I admit that is another step toward figuring out better habits. Like the ice cream, fast food, or restaurant-quality food, there are times when YouTube videos are fine or even helpful, but overindulging in them is more harmful than it might seem at first glance.
I doubt I’ll ever “get through” my Watch Later list, and that’s OK.
I would rather prioritize my time with doing things to better self-actualize, and I’ve been finding that reading is my way of doing that. I’ve thought about ways to reduce my writing backlog, either by publishing twice-daily or even writing less, but I think what’s more important right now is rebuilding the writing muscle to the degree I had months ago. Even on a day like today where my tailbone flared up to the point where I felt like my health had slipped, I can still do what I can to salvage the day. I don’t need to put unnecessary burdens on myself, other than the ones that I’ve already placed on myself – write more than 500 word daily, which I just passed two years of doing so yesterday, May 17; try reading 30 minutes daily – which does mean about one hour daily is sacrificed to these two processes, but, they’ve been better teachers to me than any YouTube video, fast food, or ice cream.
The habit feeds into itself.
Reading is less an obligation than balancing out my diet of media. If I steep my mind too much into the tea of reading, then I lose out on other areas in life. There are valuable YouTube videos, livestreams, restaurant-quality foods, fast foods, and ice cream all available out there, but the trick is figuring out the limitations on all, including reading and writing. I’ve been able to write more lately, but not significantly more. It’s not that I’m substantially healthier – it’s just that I have less interest in “unhealthy” food or media now.
Well, that’s where I’d hazard to call media “unhealthy” or “junk.”
Still, I think it’s important to meander through them all the same, because there is value to turning your brain off to watch something or hanging out in a livestream. These aren’t “worse” than anything else I do, it’s just I need to figure out a better balance, even now, so that I don’t waste hours on end hanging out in a livestream if I’m not using that time productively – or, as an escape from temporary negative sensations. It’s difficult for me to differentiate, so, I’ll just leave it at the notion that reading for 30 minutes near-daily for over a month – 47, as of today – has greatly improved my writing direction in life.
It’s too bad it took this many years for me to figure that out.
I suppose it’s the same like addictions to various foods and flavors. I suppose phrased this way, I might hazard to say that anything like ice cream could be healthy, and it will take a few weeks before the fruits of my dietary changing labor shows any positive change, but I wanted to capture this thought while I was imagining it. Fewer cartons of ice cream, fewer non-writing hobbies, more writing-related hobbies, and more writing seems like the way for me to go. Sure, that does create rifts in how I might operate, since it means fewer hours spent with others, but they have their own priorities in life and I have my own. My priority is writing “The Story.” Your priority might be hanging out, living life, or even fully engaged in another hobby. It’s all good to me, and if we can help each other, all the better.
After this essay, I might watch some junk media.
|Sources: My personal experiences.|
|Inspirations: Realizing a source of my weight gain a few days ago, today I felt like writing about this topic.|
|Related: Other Media Meandry essays.|
|Photo: Sorry it’s somewhat eaten, but that’s the effect I was going for – of just how much ice cream I had been eating.|
|Written On: 2021 May 18 [11:21pm to 11:47pm]|
|Last Edited: 2021 May 18 [First draft; final draft for the Internet.]|