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Stygian

Social Media Fasting

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It's been about two weeks since I deleted my social media apps on my phone. I came to the realization that I am wasting a lot of my time. I'd be a hippocrate if I said I don't enjoy a broad selection of spicy memes. They're entertaining and I often used to share it with my friends that share my...unique...sense of humor. The downside is it acts as a buffer to delay me from dealing with issues in my daily life. It's like a less severe version of the phenomenon where you are overloaded with things to do, and you choose to take a nap instead. House dirty? Car needs work? Need to cook lunches for work? No, I'll take a nap instead and reassess when I wake up. This thwarted many an assignment during my high school/college years.

Now that I'm forced to be more in the moment, I have no choice but to plan for the future. The shift in focus seems like it is helping my be more cool headed. To be fair, I've often caught myself thinking of quotes from Marcus Aurelius's Meditations, which might double the effect. There is something to be said about not being drawn in by other people's (random facebook people all over the world) drama, as it frees up more emotional bandwidth for the people in my life.

While I'm not entirely certain, I wonder if these positive effects are a result of a dopamine fast. Perhaps, we are just not ready to have that much stimuli being thrown at us at the touch of our fingertips. Fact, fiction, and half-truths all blend together. People's opinions often obfuscate the nature of any news, as it is neigh on impossible to be unbiased in anything sociopolitical. It goes beyond just fake news, it's more about people convincing you to deeply invest into issues you have no control over. I'm part of a dog owner group on facebook that was designed to share pics of dogs doing funny things. Pretty much everyday I would see some horrific picture of dogs getting killed. I have no control over how other countries choose to write law anymore than how each individual will interpret it. I have control over what media I consume, and thereby, my reaction to it.

Having fasted for about 2.5 weeks now, I noticed I far more calm and aware of what I have control over. As my good friend Marcus would have said, don't put any thoughts into things you have no control over. Do everything you can that is within your power, but don't sweat what you can't control.

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Comments

  1. Winston's Avatar
    I'm a Luddite that never picked-up the "social media" habit. I post here, and on a couple of other opinion sites. That's it.
    Now I'm gonna brag.
    Yesterday, I took my motorcycle to work. Along the way I saw a seal in the Puget Sound, an eagle soaring over head, and the snow-capped Olympic Mountains off in the distance. The slight mist in the air made the sunrise radiant.
    I don't use a Go Pro. I don't stop and take selfies with the wildlife. I just enjoy the moment. How boring, right? (sarcasm)
    I don't miss my enslavement, because I never chose to give up my freedom. I don't judge. I just don't understand the choices of many, many folks.
    Good luck with your detox.
  2. Plasticweld's Avatar
    Bringing a new meaning to the phrase, "You are what you eat." I guess it can be applied both physically and mentally. The old adage, "Garbage in Garbage out also comes to mind.

    How are you feeling after 2 1/2 weeks, are your workouts more intense? I am assuming you have gained some mental focus.
  3. Stygian's Avatar
    @Winston:

    That right there is what I want to achieve. I find social media (fb is my preferred poison), akin to that of smoking. At first you don't really care about it, then your friends and/or family are into it, and then you get pressured into "trying it out". The instant gratification from likes and the really strange desire to peer into other peoples lives, feeds the pleasure center of the brain and you get hooked.

    When I was a kid, I came to the conclusion that paying someone to kill you (smoking) is dumb, so I never got into smoking, but with facebook, it's free and there is no obvious catch. Now we are finding out that the dumb things you said/posted as a kid will haunt your adult life. People have lost jobs over bad jokes and off colour humor (guilty as charged).

    I'm trying to live more in the moment, but I need to get in the habit of taking pictures. Nothing makes me feel sadder than realising my dog will keep getting older and it's up to me to find some way to keep her memory alive long after. She's only 6, so I have some time left *knock on wood*

    @Plasticweld

    I couldn't agree more. It's a strange feeling to say the least. My muscle memory will try to open the app that no longer is installed when I let my mind wonder due to boredom. Then when I realize what I'm doing, I instantly feel like I've broken out of a hypnotic state. It's really quite bizarre!

    The workouts have fallen off the bandwagon, along wither everything else, for the last two weeks. I've had to prep my car for a dyno tune, so I've been up to my eyeballs in car work and stress! Easter binging didn't help either. My family recipe for stuffed peppers bypasses the stomach and goes right to the hips and lower back
  4. Plasticweld's Avatar
    Sounds like you and I have a lot in common. A couple of links to my blog, one is a track day at Watkins Glen the other training for a Spartan event.

    https://www.writingforums.com/entrie...this-past-week


    https://www.writingforums.com/entrie...rys-to-explain



    I am also trying to get back on the wagon when it comes to working out. I got injured a few months ago. I went from running 19 miles on Jan 1 st to barely being able to walk. I miss the adrenaline and dopamine rush and being able to eat anything because of all of the calories I burned. I put on ten pounds and feel both guilty and ashamed
  5. Stygian's Avatar
    Both of those were great reads!

    I'm hoping some day I have enough disposable income to buy a track car. I've got an '07 supercharged Cobalt (LSJ). I had the supercharger rebuilt (preventative maintenance) and installed a 2.9" pulley (factory is 3.4" I think). I also reworked GM's useless inter-cooler design to function well above spec to properly cool the charge before it gets slammed into the cylinder. The previous owner already had 60# injectors installed, so I saved a few bucks there. Long story short, my friends brother said he could do a clutch job and I was dumb enough to believe him. Totally fried my PCM, so I had to buy a new one that made my car run like garbage. I thought if I have to dyno tune, might as well get the car up to 100%. At 250WHP, 230ft-lbs, and 2900lbs, she's a fun daily driver. Stage 1 cancer weight reduction on the bottom of the driver's side door is a good theft deterrent. Failing that, they would need to know how to drive standard lol

    You were in way better shape than I've ever been. I can lift heavy, but can't do much cardio. I'm a heavy guy, so running is bad for the knees. My goal is to ride my bicycle as much as I can this spring and summer. The winters here are too brutal to ride, so I'll figure something out when the time comes. My biggest challenge right now is uncluttering my head. In order for me to have unyielding resolve, I need purpose. I've put off mulling it over for too long. It's a challenge in itself for me.
  6. Plasticweld's Avatar
    You are spot on about having a clear head, it is the only thing that gives you clear focus. I have always been at the mind set to focus on one thing at a time, start and don't stop until finished. My mind spins at ninety mile an hour so I like to do things that let me just think, running is one. I won't be able to run for another couple of months but I am also doing the bike. My goal was to run 60 miles on my birthday, now I am planning on biking it with my kids instead. That has been an effort to work up to.

    The car sounds cool, a real sleeper as they say. You would blow the doors of the Vette at a stop light, mine is still stock. I spent money on brakes, suspension, seats and safety stuff for the inside of the car. The only cool thing I added was Auto Blip...cooler than hell :}

    I figures I had to learn how to drive before making it any faster.

    I am amazed at what they do with electronics now and how much they can turn up an engine. My Dodge diesel has one of the tuners in it, it makes 400 hp and is a rocket ship. But I have no idea on how to tune or adjust any of that stuff so I am at some else's mercy if I need work done.

    The clutch thing made me smile and think of my truck, I am on my third clutch in that. Lots of power always brings lots of headaches along with the smiles.


    You are correct about the manual trans being a theft deterrent.

    Bob
  7. Stygian's Avatar
    That auto-blip sounds neat. I've never heard of it before. I've beat it into myself to rev match all the time in order to keep my syncros happy. Mind you, I haven't been on a track, so I haven't bothered to learn heel-toe shifting. A bit too much overkill for taking turns at low speeds imo.

    For the most part, I like the electronics put into cars. Everything up to '10 is pretty straightforward to diagnose with an OBD2 connector and a car specific forum. It's pretty much guaranteed that someone has had the same issue, so you'll likely have a handy guide to follow. Haynes is great, but I lack any civil language to explain my dislike of their pictures. They're always zoomed up so close it just looks like a jumble of parts with no reference. I'm pretty good with car work, but never got into engine/transmission surgery. I always opt for timing chain driven cars just to avoid the headache of doing a timing belt job. The mechanic shops in my city cost an arm and a leg and are rarely trustworthy. If they damage your car while working on it, you're held responsible. I've got some alloy rims with gouges from someone who didn't know how to operate the business end of an impact wrench.

    My experience with tuners is to just go to a dyno shop. They have all the gear and you don't need to have an air-fuel gauge installed to tune. I wasted $500 on some guy that said he could tune it without a dyno and I'm lucky I didn't wash out my cylinder walls from all the excess gas. I was getting V6-V8 fuel economy from my SC 4cyl. I'm only on my second tank of gas, and there is a night and day difference. More power AND better economy. It still sucks to be at their mercy though.

    Brakes and suspension upgrades would be a must if I tracked it. It makes perfect sense. I have good aftermarket support, so I have lots of parts available. Personally, I hate racing suspension for city driving, so I replaced all my shocks with GM OE shocks. I was thinking about upgrading the breaks to the Brembo style the '08-'10's have, but I'm not sure if ABS modifications are needed, in which case it's cheaper to crash haha

    I'm hoping to find a decent 4x4 truck or SUV with a blown head gasket I could repair over summer. As much as it is fun to drive my car in the winter, I'd rather not. My winter tires can only do so much
  8. Kevin's Avatar
    Someone I used to know said he was a Buddhist. I'm not into any of that stuff but I do find it sort of interesting so I asked and he talked about removing the constant 'fill' of things you occupy yourself with up in your head all day that don't have aythings to do with what you're actually doing. Maybe that's a little different than social media, or ( I'm old, last century) tv. Anyway, I thought it was an interesting idea and I wondered how that works, if I'm ever 'there' already. At times I have to be fully engaged at a project and at other times the project runs itself so I find something to occupy myself. I can't leave so it has to be something 'mental' like reading about something on the smartphome.
  9. Stygian's Avatar
    I've always found Buddhism to be fascinating. A lot of what they teach is observable. They believe that life is full of suffering and our desires are the cause. It makes a lot of sense to me. I've made plenty of poor choices due to desires and suffered the consequences. Simplest example being drinking or overeating. Stoicism is very similar without the religious bits. I highly recommend reading Meditations by Marcus Aurelius.

    After decoupling my mind from the noise of facebook, I find I have more time to be introspective. More than half my blogs came from just killing time at work by thinking about world. The hard one to quit will be Youtube. I've learned a lot from it, so I'm not sure if it's a complete wash like FB turned out to be.

    If you're old school, I would recommend getting even more old school. Buy a cheap pocket notebook and start writing. I've got a good chunk of my outlining done for a novel I want to write.
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