Distractions… and the prisons we build to suppress them

I haven’t written in this blog in a really long time.  It’s a shame, because I have always loved blogging.  I used to see it as a way to slow life down a little bit and reflect upon it.  And make some sense out of it.  And, yeah, to occasionally vent on it and release a bit of steam.

But, alas, it has been sorely neglected.  Much like many of the hobbies that I used to enjoy partaking in.  I don’t even know if “neglect” is the proper word to use; perhaps more appropriate would be “cut off.”

I used to see myself as someone who enjoyed a wide variety of interests.  I used to take the liberty to explore all these different avenues.  In high school, I allowed myself to explore these interests through all these extracurricular activities and clubs.  My thinking at the time was that I would only get to experience high school once in my life; might as well maximize the experience during these fleeting four years.  And, it was mostly a beneficial outlook.  I have a lot that I can look back to and be proud of.  And, several of my friends from high school are still among the most cherished folks in my life.

But, when I started undergrad at Wright State, I wanted to be able to focus.  I stopped playing my trumpet.  I stopped swimming.  I ceased my video game addiction.  I trimmed all these little side hobbies off of my life in order to help me stay focused on pursuing my bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering.  Inevitably, though, I did get involved in campus politics and other extracurriculars.  And, at times, I was super busy – and super stressed with a million scattered responsibilities.  But, like high school, I am able to look back at undergrad and say that I’m proud of what I managed to accomplish – in my academic career and in making a small impact on my campus community at Wright State.

At McGill, I did more of the same.  I trimmed even more hobbies out of my schedule.  I stopped singing.  I did get involved in one organization last year, but vowed to stay out of having any responsibilities this year other than my graduate coursework and thesis.  Once again, the thinking was that this would allow me to focus my mental resources (and sanity) on that singular thing that mattered most – completing my thesis and receiving a Master’s degree from McGill University.

I thought that all of this would be good for me – that it would suppress all these distractions that were tugging at me and pulling me off the road that I was supposed to be walking straightly along.

Now, I just feel depressed.  I stopped allowing myself to enjoy things.  I built all these walls around myself.  I stopped expressing myself.  I stopped allowing myself to indulge in all these little side hobbies that I once enjoyed.  All for the sake of “focus” and “diligence.”  All for the sake of “not wasting any more time.”  Forgetting that many of these things, at one point or another, helped shape the person I am today.

There’s something to be said about balance.  It’s not very long ago that I wrote about being super-stressed and overstretched by a zillion random commitments.  But, now, I just feel like this mindless zombie working single-mindedly on this damned thesis.  And, now, 100% of my sanity is attached to the turbulent ups and downs of my supervisor and the day-to-day progression of this thesis.  It’s pathetic.

I realized all this while I was talking to friends of mine who I hadn’t seen in several months.  They were all updating me about what kinds of projects and life events they’ve been involved with in these past several months.  When asked about what I’ve been doing for this duration of time, I only had two words to say.

The thesis.

My life has been hollowed out.  I’ve censored out most of the things that make life worth living.  Instead of waking up and looking forward to at least one exciting project going on in my life, I now wake up with this sense of dread about the thesis.  It’s an unhealthy way to live.  And, at the very least, it makes for really drab blog entries.

Hence why my blogging for the past several months has been sparse.  And why blogging lately has been this uncomfortable confrontation with the emptiness that now describes my life.

As spring approaches, however, there is some excitement in store.  I am traveling to Dayton in a month to visit my undergrad friends there.  And, I am planning on picking up my trumpet down there and bringing it up to Montreal to start playing again.  Thus starts an attempt by myself to revive some of my old interests – and perhaps find some new ones in the next several months.

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