Hi, my name is ____ and I am an escapeholic.


Okay, I admit it: I have a problem. It’s gotten pretty bad, and I don’t know how to solve it.

I know acknowledging the problem is always touted as the all-important first step– hey, you recognize you have a problem, that’s great! Now you can do something about it!

Yes, but what? I’ve always known I’ve had this problem– what’s step two, please?!

I’m getting ahead of myself.

For all appearances, you would be excused from thinking that my problem is that…I have an addiction to my computer, my phone or more generally, the internet. It’s the first thing I turn to when I wake up, it’s the last thing I look at before I fall asleep. As long as I’m not officially occupied at work, I will be seated infront of my computer. I surf the net when I’m eating, when I’m commuting. My hand reaches for my phone every couple of minutes regardless of what I’m doing, regardless of whether there are any new messages or calls. I spend hours every single day in front of the computer. My smart phone (and accompanying addiction) is relatively new, but internet surfing is not.

However, if you look beneath the surface, the computer, phone and internet are just the mediums, I believe, for my addiction to escapism and procrastination.

When I reach for my phone only to discover no new messages, I don’t just put it down again. Sometimes I stare at the screen blankly, swipe from page to page, back and forth. I click to facebook (nothing new in the last 2 mintes), click to twitter, click to the one or two games I play regularly. Scroll through my whatassp chats. Up and down, back and forth, open the apps, close the apps. I just want something to read, something to occupy myself, distract myself.

When I open up my laptop, I always go through my ritual before I can even think of doing anything else; check facebook and read everything in the newsfeed, opening any interesting links in new tabs. Check my blogs, check my emails, check my friends blog, check the handful of webcomics I follow. When I have nothing left to check, nothing left to read, I can easily spend the next couple of hours trying (desperately) to find more things to check, more things to read.

However, it’s not the internet that I’m yearning for, chasing for when I pick up my phone or open up facebook or a friend’s blog for the umpteen time. It’s two other things: distraction and connection.

It’s gotten so bad that it’s become extremely difficult for me to get work done; even if I manage to physically get myself away from my computer and phone, I can’t concentrate at all. I want to think about my work but my brain is just constantly throwing a tantrum, saying ‘not now, not now…’ and wants to be distracted, doesn’t want to think.

That part of the brain thinks of this (vegging out in front of the computer reading stuff) as enjoyment, as relaxation. The rest of me feels trapped. This breeds extreme frustration and stress, and zero satisfaction to know I’ve just wasted more hours of my life doing nothing.

I don’t know if this comes from the break up, but I think the break up (or my methods of coping with the break up) definitely worsened it. That how I got past my depression: distraction. The addiction and hunger of escapism and distraction may in itself be bourn of a deeper problem that comes as a direct result of the break up: Loneliness and a general discontentment with my life. I miss having that deep connection with another person so much, and the happiness that I derive from it, that I desperately try to find something to replace it, but nothing does, leaving me watching funny youtube video after youtube video, chasing that high and contentment that never comes.

I’ve been trying to talk to people more, start more chats with people, connect with friends more, make more new friends, but that just leaves me staring at the dead whatsapp chat or stalking their blogs or facebook page, wishing for a much deeper connection and not getting it.

This isn’t very well written because I’m just writing it quickly at one shot, without thinking or editing. I know blogging has also become just another means of procrastination and distraction to me, and I really want to get away from this screen as soon as possible.

Any suggestions on how to get my brain and focus back in order would be nice.
I have the attention space of a goldfish right now.

:(

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A Million Points of Light


Walking up the stairs, a gaze across space. Glance up, a nod and a smile.
Sitting at a desk; hurries by, a wave and a ‘hi!’.

And there it stops.

It’s mind boggling, the possibilities. At every instant, you’re faced with a choice. It branches off ad infinitum, a never-ending number of parallel universes, containing every single possibility.

It’s like being in a library with a million books in front of you; A million books, a million view points, a million worlds. Astounding! The possibilities! At your finger tips! Each book you open brings you somewhere new, gives you something new, changes you in some way. The possibilities, they’re endless.

It’s like the internet; each site you visit opens up another ten links and each of those another ten and… it’s exponential!

You’re like a little frog, looking up at the vast, never-ending sky. There’s an entire world waiting to be conquered, to be explored, to be seen. The possibilities, endless.

And yet, there is stops.

You’re a frog… in a well. Or are you a frog that’s been conditioned to think there’s a well? No…I think the well’s real. Or have I merely been well conditioned?

You can’t read all of the books in the library. It’s all there, at your fingertips, but at the same time out of reach.

Every single person you walk past has their own story, a story that could fill ten novels, fill ten movies. Each and every single person you walk past has a name, a family, a history, a point of view, a personality. Their own lives, their own worlds, their own universe.

Imagine the possibilities?

They could have something in common with you. They probably do. What about that guy over there? Maybe you’d hit it off, really click. Maybe they share some of your strongest convictions. Maybe they could introduce you to a whole new world. Maybe they have the potential become your bosom buddy, if given half the chance. Maybe… one of them is The One?

Every. Single. Person. You pass by. Is as real as you are.

And yet, there it stops.

At least for me. I see the possibilities, but I don’t know how to make the connection. I don’t know how to move it past just that smile and a ‘hi’.

It’s like all of life; You could buy a plane ticket on a whim and be in Japan, or Scotland, or Italy tomorrow. Every moment opens endless possibilities. Yet… it doesn’t and yet you can’t.

All these characters, just secondary characters and calefare in the movie of my life- flat, 2D and boring. I know it’s not true! How do I give them main character statuses? More character development and… heck, give them their own spin-offs! I want to see all the possibilities. I want to see them!

It’s like a million points of lights. Each one you touch bursts into a million more points of light. Fireworks of possibilities. Never-ending ripples. Touch, touch, touch.

It must be nice to be god. The view must be mesmerizing  To be able to see all the possibilities unhidden. All the hyperlinks, all the braches and intricate patterns of interaction, all the points of light exploding and expanding outwards before you. Heck, you don’t need to be god; I can’t see it and already the mere idea mesmerizes me.

At your fingertips and beyond your reach.

Internet Piracy is Not All Bad


“When the web started, I used to get really grumpy with people because they put my poems up. They put my stories up. They put my stuff up on the web. I had this belief, which was completely erroneous, that if people put your stuff up on the web and you didn’t tell them to take it down, you would lose your copyright, which actually, is simply not true.

And I also got very grumpy because I felt like they were pirating my stuff, that it was bad. And then I started to notice that two things seemed much more significant. One of which was… places where I was being pirated, particularly Russia where people were translating my stuff into Russian and spreading around into the world, I was selling more and more books. People were discovering me through being pirated. Then they were going out and buying the real books, and when a new book would come out in Russia, it would sell more and more copies. I thought this was fascinating, and I tried a few experiments. Some of them are quite hard, you know, persuading my publisher for example to take one of my books and put it out for free. We took “American Gods,” a book that was still selling and selling very well, and for a month they put it up completely free on their website. You could read it and you could download it. What happened was sales of my books, through independent bookstores, because that’s all we were measuring it through, went up the following month three hundred percent

I started to realize that actually, you’re not losing books. You’re not losing sales by having stuff out there. When I give a big talk now on these kinds of subjects and people say, “Well, what about the sales that I’m losing through having stuff copied, through having stuff floating out there?” I started asking audiences to just raise their hands for one question. Which is, I’d say, “Okay, do you have a favorite author?” They’d say, “Yes.” and I’d say, “Good. What I want is for everybody who discovered their favorite author by being lent a book, put up your hands.” And then, “Anybody who discovered your favorite author by walking into a bookstore and buying a book raise your hands.” And it’s probably about five, ten percent of the people who actually discovered an author who’s their favorite author, who is the person who they buy everything of. They buy the hardbacks and they treasure the fact that they got this author. Very few of them bought the book. They were lent it. They were given it. They did not pay for it, and that’s how they found their favorite author. And I thought, “You know, that’s really all this is. It’s people lending books. And you can’t look on that as a loss of sale. It’s not a lost sale, nobody who would have bought your book is not buying it because they can find it for free.”

What you’re actually doing is advertising. You’re reaching more people, you’re raising awareness. Understanding that gave me a whole new idea of the shape of copyright and of what the web was doing. Because the biggest thing the web is doing is allowing people to hear things. Allowing people to read things. Allowing people to see things that they would never have otherwise seen. And I think, basically, that’s an incredibly good thing.”

– Neil Gaiman
From here: Neil Gaiman On Internet Copyright Piracy