The Impersistence of Memory

Time is an illusion. Downtime doubly so.

Boy, time and memory are both weird.

I have very vivid memories of my social media break last year, which was a big deal because I had never done anything like it. I know it affected my holiday income and probably put a lower cap on the success of my Kickstarter that was happening at the time (but which was already fully funded at that point, or else I probably would have struggled on). And I know it happened in December...

Which a year later, in my memory, meant that I took December off from social media.

But last night Facebook showed me a memory from exactly a year before, of me announcing my Twitter hiatus on December 10th, 2018. So even though to my conscious thinking, I had considered the same break at the start of the month and relented nine days later, I actually randomly hit on the same date as being my breaking point. 

That got me curious, though. If it hadn't been a purposeful decision to take the month off, when had I come back? I did have the thought in my head that I'd come back earlier than I'd intended/expected, maybe after Christmas but before New Year's.

So I opened up an advanced Twitter search page and did a check for tweets from December of last year... and discovered that I had left on December 10th and come back on the 17th. I didn't reinstall the Twitter app on my phone and was still on a "soft hiatus" until later, but I was only off Twitter for a week.

Boy, do I feel better about not having gotten my life all the way back together now that I know it was more like 7 days than anything close to a month. I have been looking at the state of my quarters and thinking to myself, "If I only managed to clean the smaller of these two rooms with nearly a month, what can I hope to accomplish in a couple of weeks?" and come to find out I've given myself more than double the time I did last year.

I imagine that just as my return to Twitter was not all at once, I didn't just stop trying to fix my room and my life all at once on the 17th. But still.

It's weird how fragile memory is, and how you can build something up in your head until it's so much bigger than it is. The things we do to ourselves through thinking.


With this in mind... I'm feeling better about my decision, both to take the break and to have a set end date. Last time I was playing it by ear and while I made some progress in my hiatus, the fact that I had left it open-ended I think led to me coming back before I was ready. Not only had I not fully accomplished my household goals, but I almost completely skipped over the part where I re-evaluated how I spend my time and energy when I am on Twitter.

Having the newsletter as an outlet and a place to process things will make that easier, I think, and having a firm goal -- and one that is a bit over a week beyond what I did last time -- turns it into more of an exercise in discipline. I don't expect it to be easier or harder so much as different, in ways that are more productive. 

I started today with a schedule for when I was going to get up, eat breakfast, take pills, etc., and also a structure for when to drink caffeine vs. water to make sure I'm getting both in useful amounts at useful times. That's been thrown off a bit by my decision yesterday, when I realized how low I was feeling, to drink caffeine in the late afternoon, which means I wasn't quite as ready and raring to go this morning as I'd hoped, but I'm only off by an hour, and I have the beginning of the routine, anyway.

I'm actually kind of impressed with how much I've done today, given the late start and that I watched three episodes of superhero shows.

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