Things I Can’t Give Up

In Health, Reading, Self Improvement on April 3, 2009 at 5:14 pm

I’m going to jot down a few things that are going on with me today. I suppose I should be doing this on Facebook, but frankly, I get a little bored reading other people’s comments and figure no one wants to read mine. At least if I put them all here, they can be ignored all at one time.

I’m supposedly getting ready for our trip to Orlando, but in reality, I’m sitting here writing this post and futzing around on the Internet. Rebecca Traister of just wrote a post about some new software called “Freedom” because it prevents you from spending too much time on the Internet and thus frees up your time for other things. I also read a two-year-old post of hers about what has happened to her body since she stopped smoking.

My reaction to both posts was much the same. I rebel against the implication that I should quit smoking or surfing the Net just because she did. I happen to like both activities and usually pair them together. This reminds me of the time I worked through Julia Cameron’s book, The Artist’s Way (web site here), and she prescribed a week of not reading in order to free up your brain or something like that. I just couldn’t do it. I can’t even imagine not reading for a day, let alone a week.

I can go without cigarettes or the Internet much more easily–and have. But I keep coming back to them. I like the way they make me think. Smoking can be a meditative act; if it weren’t for the fact that it’s bad for you, it might even take off as a meditative tool. And the Internet aids my thinking process. When I get on the Net, I can snatch some of the crazy things that swirl around in my brain and bring them down to earth by looking up information or opinions about what I’ve been thinking about. That often helps me to lay some of my ruminations to rest. Or gives me an idea for my writing. Or even leads me to some kind of action.

I have to read something as soon as I get out of bed. It almost doesn’t matter what it is: the paper, a magazine, a book I’ve just picked up and read only a few pages of.  I read with my breakfast, my coffee, in between my spells on the Internet. my lunch, my afternoon coffee. I know I should take some of the time I spend reading to do other, more productive things, like exercise. But I need to keep my brain busy. If I don’t, I get bored and/or anxious. I have considered getting books on tape to listen to while I exercise, but I doubt I’d exercise long enough to get through much of the book. Besides, the books on tape go too slowly. I tend to read pretty quickly–I do a lot of skimming–and the pace of a recorded book drives me nuts.

Here’s an idea: why not make exercise tapes or DVDs where poetry or prose is being read along with all the exercising? I mean, they do it to music; why not to words? Okay, I know that the beat is the thing, but there’s a rhythm to reading, too. You just have to find it.

Maybe when they find ways for me to surf the Net, check my email, read, write and smoke, I’ll be able to stick with exercising. For now, it’s one of the things that I can easily give up.


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