I can’t stop thinking.
I don’t remember a time when I didn’t feel that way. When I was young, I would eat breakfast while reading the backs of cereal boxes; not because the backs of cereal boxes were particularly edifying but because I was obsessed with words. I didn’t have a consciousness of this at the age of ten, of course. All I knew was that I liked reading the words on the back of the boxes. Later, for reasons now lost to the dusts of history, my parents took out a Time subscription and my limitless desire for words found a new object. And ever since a very young age, I’ve never been at ease when I’m not consuming or producing words in some way.
I’ve been consuming words for a long time now. That process has pushed so much information into my head that, mentally, I swim in it. One cannot, after all, get away from oneself; I find myself walking through airports and unbidden a thought comes into my head and then I have to process it in some way, torture it into a semblance of coherency. I don’t know how to turn that off and I certainly wouldn’t want to. But despite it I feel an inadequacy in my approach to the situation; it’s too undisciplined, too unbalanced. There aren’t enough pressures on me to put my disparate ideas into a structure that makes sense, and the nature of my work is such that, with the exception of those ideas that pertain to that work, I won’t find that kind of pressure there. Perhaps I’m insufficiently motivated to apply that pressure to myself. That certainly has been the case in the past: I’m irresponsible and undisciplined at the best of times.
Every year, we go through a farce we call New Year’s resolutions, which at this point are a comical performance we put on for our friends and families, while winking. I’m trying to do that dance this year, with a measure of sincerity. Arbitrary phases in the solar cycle may not mean anything, but we like to think they represent an opportunity to change something. This text is one step towards the things I would like to change. My goal isn’t as specific as losing a certain number of pounds or accomplishing a certain set of tasks, but rather to work on self-discipline, manifesting it in both physical and intellectual aspects. The end goal, I suppose, is to be swimming through that river of thought in the directions I want to go, rather than being carried along like a piece of driftwood. We’ll see how much I manage to get done in the course of the year, but now, refreshed by a nice little vacation, is as good a time to start as any.
Happy New Year, people.