The void of more
Life doesn’t come with a posted speed limit.
And I’ve never been good at gauging what my limits are.
This week-long hiatus from the blogosphere and social media helped me realize that fact.
I teach high school English, coordinate the offense of our school’s nationally ranked (American) football team, and edit and write for the local paper. Since January, I added blogging to my own personal circus of activity.
If I dip my toes in the water, my body inevitably dives in after.
With the school year approaching and football practices gearing up, my anxiety was high. “How can I do all this?” I asked my wife.
“Take a month off from being markgoodson.com.”
She enjoys calling me that, usually when I’m acting self-important. She calls me that often.
“A month? How about I take the weekend?”
“You just want me to be off my phone when I’m at home.”
“Mark, I’m concerned for your mental health.”
I pause and let that thought sink in.
“I’ll take a week.”
In that week, I realized that if I give myself the opportunity to push the limit, I will. I need to take breaks to realize how invested I am in things.
Endeavors envelop me.
Call it workaholism if you like. If I have social media and WordPress icons on my phone, I will be on them every chance I get. I do not push those icons, they push me. So, I have to take the icons off my phone. Even without them, I still find ways to push my limits.
It was 98 degrees on the artificial turf our second day of practice. Players were coming off the field with 2nd degree burns on their hands. I was tired of watching my quarterbacks scoop the ball off the turf. Too clumsy.
“Bad snap? Slide on it and keep possession!”
I throw a ball 15 yards in front of me and get to a full sprint. I slide a few yards, as if the dry hot turf were a slip-and-slide. Leg skin, the size of my palm, burns off my leg. I jump up as if nothing happened. I should know at this point to leave the demonstrations to the players.
My drug and alcohol consumption never knew a limit. I was a blackout drinker. I’d function in that loss of consciousness, and always drink more, use drugs. I don’t have an internal off-switch drunk or sober.
I am afflicted by the void of more. It says that I need to work more, write more, do more, be more. Thankfully, it no longer tells me to drink more.
The void of more has also propelled me to do worthwhile things. Transferring the void of more to my passion for writing, teaching, and coaching is a good thing.
I’m finding meaning in life rather than looking for the meaning of life.
Connecting with writers and folks in recovery at the speed of light through tubes across the globe has been a great thing. I missed the recovery posse this week. So how do I connect in moderation?
First, I must admit that moderation is as foreign to me as space travel. I admit that whatever I get into will consume my life. Next, I need to remove certain habits. In order to remove habits, I must remove the option to enact them.
I put in my 30-day notice at the paper last week. I’m back on social media, but I’m keeping those icons off my phone. Without the option to engage 24/7, I will force myself into moderation.
There is no flicking the off switch. I will continue to discover and distinguish which switches I want left on.
The one switch I know I will never turn off is the one that gives this blog its title. Family. I will never stop pushing the limits of family.
Even when a bandage covers a palm-sized flesh wound, I will seek out new summits.