I can’t say how happy I am to see 2016 come to an end. I’ve never said that before…that I was happy to see a year end, and I don’t think that’s because nothing bad happened before either.
2016 may have been the year I started paying attention.
- The news.
- My students’ feelings.
- My co-workers’ strange interactions.
- My strange interactions with my coworkers.
- My strained relationship.
- My paralyzing obsession with religion.
And all of this was different than the year before. Because before, I had only noticed these moments.
- I had heard the news.
- Saw the frustration on my students’ faces.
- Experienced and observed socially awkward moments with co-workers.
- I had recognized my own tendencies to push away my partner and to be critical at times.
- And I was certainly aware that my obsession with religion could be unhealthy.
By 2016, I was more than noticing these things though. I began to realize the cost, and it wasn’t cheap!
People that pay attention know two things:
- Paying attention is an investment of time which has the potential to prepare you for opportunities.
- Paying attention may be at the expense of your health, relationships, career, and the time you once spent enjoying other things.
In 2016, I began to actually feel the weight of being tuned in, and it was debilitating. I got in the habit of performing this daily, moral inventory and somehow kept coming back to the idea that I was this waste of a person. Not to mention, I was in this weird obsessive, compulsive place of wanting to find the meaning to everything, and I needed to know if it was possible to find it in holy books and to have it all make sense.
Every evening, I came home and said no more than a few words to my family. I walked upstairs and closed the bedroom door behind me. I essentially treated my bedroom as if it were a private apartment for the last year. The only thing missing was a makeshift kitchenette. Had I added a few amenities, I would have never needed to leave.
I’d run a bath and sink into it with every question I’d dreamt up that day. Then I would search. I’d watch video lectures, read articles and immerse myself in theology…all from the bathtub. Now, I can’t tell you how long I stayed in the bath, but I can tell you it was usually long enough to warrant warming the water 2-3 times…
So, how will 2017 be different? Well, I’m not going to stop bathing! But I will write notes from the bathwater. I am going to have to make a clear effort to replace some activities, but that’s not one of them. I will still take my long baths, and my computer will still be present. The only difference now is that I will be blogging instead of teetering on the edge of a religion induced nervous breakdown.