What is Habit? What is Me? / Me=Habits? / Good or Bad? / What?
Here’s a fun process (that really isn’t any fun at all) that I’ve been picking over since I started to really actually think about coming to this place for realsies.
What are the things I do –habits/behaviours/thoughts – that I really could do without? Which are the ones that, amidst this stressful course, will potentially get worse and hinder me? And should I do something to get rid of them?
In other words: are my love of football and the hours I spend finding music just silly distractions that I need to eradicate from my life? Is the only way to survive this thing a strict regime of sleep, exercise and meditation? Should I stop looking at funny internet stuff altogether?!
I’ll be honest, I’m mildly concerned about this place. I’ve only ever heard stressful things. Just recently I actually went there and it all seemed nice: nice people, smiles, beers. Nice. On the surface, anyway. But scratch a little beneath the surface of the calm happy niceness and you overhear things like: “Ah yeah I can barely even sit down at the moment, I’m just constantly thinking about my book.”
Dang. Goodbye happy niceness and the brief fantasy that this will be a year of free beer, smiles and sunshine. Instead, vindication for all my worst ideas of what this place will be.
If this person can’t sit down thinking about their book I’ve got no chance. I already can’t sit down thinking about their book.
So, how to prepare?
In stressful situations bad habits tend to become exacerbated – nail-biting, smoking and comfort eating will all get worse before a deadline. Routines can become difficult to maintain; like properly tending to circadian rhythms – which also happens to be something I don’t always do well anyway. The head-noise (perhaps you’re familiar with it) will surely only get worse during this course; thoughts bouncing round like methed-up bunnies trying to find more meth.
Maybe the answer is to become a model student. Go cold turkey from everything I suspect is bad for me and live life on a diet of Hatha yoga and suggested readings. It certainly seems like a good idea…
But this leads to the biggest pickle in the jar; the big white whale moby-pickle; the crux of the issue. Are these parts of me really actually separable? Am I a modular being capable of exclusively turning off parts of myself without affecting myself as a whole? And will turning off a ‘negative’ thing, have a wholly positive effect on everything else?
I mean probably tbh, but humour me just a sec.
Because, for example…
So my sleep habits can sometimes be pretty bad. Like a raccoon in a wheelie bin, if left to do my thing I will happily jump right into internet-screen-content each night, knowing full well it might trap me. But lure of internet trash is usually too strong.
Finding new things to watch just as 1:37am rolls around and then not even watching it because HAHAHA TECHNO MEMES ON MY PHONE oh how nicely stimulating. Is there any better way to spend those hours? Because if there is I haven’t found it (I lie, there are plenty). I know this ain’t what I should be doing – it doesn’t benefit me in any way – but heck I do like it… Plus it’s much easier to do it than face the difficulties of calming my mind before 2am.
But here it is, that moby-pickle I spoke of earlier.
Around 2.30am at some point a while ago, I thought of a neat-o idea that just recently netted me the entrance fee for this place. That’s £16.5k. SIxteen thousand pounds. Loads of money. I won the scholarship competition with an idea I cooked up around 2/3am just as I was falling asleep.
As my brainwaves drifted slowly from Theta to Delta, so too did the idea drift to me through the somehow crystal clear sea of late night brain gumbo, right up to where I was floating around, just about to nod off. I had to reach up, pull off my eyemask, re-dilate my pupils and type it into my phone – all probably setting myself back maybe 15 mins in the going-to-sleep process.
And this is not something that happens infrequently. Just look at the time I’m writing this – wouldn’t ya just know it: 1:08am. Goddam. I have ideas in the early hours a lot. I wrote my dissertation mostly during the evening and the early hours, and that won a national award.
How can I both maintain Harry Kane-levels of sleep pattern earliness and regularity while also cashing in on my late night moments of inspo and clarity?
And what if, by stopping all the things I currently do, and becoming a model student, I wont actually be any good? What if the late nights, the content-binging, the lack of focus, the… Well, I’ll stop here you get the point… What if all that is also part of the reason I got here in the first place?
It’s a thought that will keep me up all night.
TLDR: What good? What bad?
Me don’t know.