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”

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?”

“Two weeks?”

“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.




23 Responses to “The void of more

  • your off switch, is on a scrap heap,somewhere, along with my moderation switch.probably along with a number of go slow knobs.

  • Lori K
    1 year ago

    Moderation is foreign to me, too. I refer to it as the “Dirty M Word”

  • This is my favorite blog post of yours! So relatable. The “more more more” mentality is both a blessing and a curse. While it can push us to get things accomplished, it can also leave us feeling that dreaded “not enough” feeling. Thanks for writing this!

    • I’m glad this one resonated so much Tawny. Yes! This could have been calls “the void of not enough” and meant the same thing.

  • ‘if we don’t control it, it will control us ‘

    Thanks Mark, a great reminder to us all that addictive behaviours lurk everywhere, some hidden & some obvious, but omnipresent.

  • Brilliant is all I have to say. For me I spend way too much time with my hand on the switch debating to turn it on or off. Procrastination. Good to see ya back brother.

  • Welcome back!
    I detox from social media several times a year which is hard with the web content & social media management gigs I have. But it’s vital. I took Facebook off my phone years ago and it makes a huge difference. Last year I had a 90 day break from Facebook. It was informative in that it really made me realize how toxic my relationship with it can be. It also provided me with more perspective and to not take it so seriously. Sounds like you gained some insight of your own too & that’s awesome. Great to have you back!

    • 90 days! That’s awesome. I would love to take that sort of break one day. And just write. Thanks Sean. Got to catch my episode 1 of S2 sloshed cinema this weekend!

  • living life with the volume switched up to 11,all the time

  • Ginger Groundhog
    1 year ago

    I love the title of this post as i have a bottomless pit of wanting more.

    Oh my! I am such a dinosaur, not on social media at all, no Facebook, no Twitter, no Instagram. I just don’t get the appeal and having the odd patrol around my daughters account (with her permission) I am thrilled not to be involved. i cannot moderate food so I can empathise to a degre. As someone who doesn’t get it, explain to me why you want to be checking social media. Is it habit? a desire for connection? To be informed? I am not judging at all, I just don’t understand.
    As for your palm sized wound – ouch. I hope that mends quickly. And kudos to Mrs Goodson on the .com comment, I like a pithy woman. Your love for your family shines through Mark, that much is obvious.

  • Your wife calls you, That is hilarious! Please tell her that.

    I was wondering where you were but I have missed posts.

    I was on Pinterest every day, pinning crap that I was never going to use. It was during Lent. I removed the icon from my phone and have only been on it 3 times since to look up something specific.

  • Good on you. This is really interesting. I have a 7-day break planned for October and it will be a big deal! Good though.. moderation isn’t something I’m very good at either..and it’s so tempting to constantly check for feedback. I like where you are going x

  • I take regular “detoxes” from social media. I became way too obsessed, checking blog post stats, checking for comments, surfing through facebook, ..I have a handy app called “freedom” that locks me out of social media – I use it regularly. As much as I love connecting with the sober-cyberverse – I know that I need to breathe fresh air, walk and notice nature around me, without the constant “ping” of my phone – and read an actual real book. Great post, Mr.

  • Sounds like you have a pretty amazing wife Mark. Thanks for sharing her wisdom here! <3
    Diana xo

  • Hi Mark!
    I loved this post, too!
    I can relate on all counts!
    Have a wonderful weekend!

  • Great post, Mark!

  • A brilliant post! The sentence – “I need to take breaks to realize how invested I am in things” – particularly resonated with me in terms of work-life (which has backfired on me somewhat in recent months) and recovery (which is another aspect of life I struggle to do in moderation).
    Thanks for sharing… very thought provoking!

    • Thanks for visiting and commenting Andy. It is so hard to strike a balance. I sometimes feel I just need to choose wIsley what I get into because I will be going all in.

  • “I’m finding meaning in life rather than looking for the meaning of life.”
    ” I do not push those icons, they push me.”
    “If I dip my toes in the water, my body inevitably dives in after.”

    Genius stuff as usual, Mark. Fantastic work. You inspire me to try to balance life more and to do what is best.

    Thanks for this – glad you’re back (sorta).


  • Mark!!! M told me about the blog today! I love this piece and subscribed ?? This is beautiful and mad relatable! Can’t wait to read the rest!!


  • colin chatburn
    1 year ago

    dial it up to 11 and leave it there.if in doubt more throttle,mare steam mcphail(from a scottish comedy show)

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