Day 72: The lure of distraction.

A reflection on how we choose to spend our time.

Although I consider myself to be a thoughtful, aware, and attentive person, there was one thing that I was consistently glossing over: my addiction to mindless entertainment.

Somehow, I didn’t think anything of the fact that I would spend hours each day watching Netflix or refreshing social media. These sort of activities just seemed like something which had come to be part of the everyday routine, and, even though I was getting very little actual enjoyment out of them, they seemed like things that I had to keep doing.

Similarly, I also didn’t think anything of the fact that I was often filling my time with an endless list of acquaintances and almost-friends. Although I didn’t feel particularly connected to many of these people, I enjoyed spending time with them because it meant that I was doing something tangible. If someone were to ask me what I had spent my time doing, I could point to all of those people and say, “Oh! Well, I went and did _____ with these people, and the day before that I was at _____ with _____, and then tomorrow I’m off to see _____ with _____.”

It all sounded very exciting, and it made it seem as though I was a happy, popular, and busy person — but at its core, though, this was just another form of mindless entertainment. Although it was less obviously a distraction, it was really no different from any of the other destructive habits I’d been cultivating.

Upon realizing this, I eventually decided to take a step back. That night, I cancelled my plans and spent the rest of the evening in quiet contemplation with myself, my thoughts, and my journal. I closed the door, turned off my phone, sat on my bed, and allowed myself to just focus on my breathing. And for the first time in a long time, I finally felt at peace.

It is certainly more difficult to simply be alone with your thoughts in such a way, but it’s also far more satisfying than chasing an endless list of distractions — and once I realized that, I no longer felt a desire to do anything else.

Jana Marie is a Croatian-born writer living amidst the restorative embrace of the Canadian Prairies.

Through her writing, she examines the interplay between self and society as she works to both illuminate and explore the power of contemplative thinking. Her recently completed two-year project, 100 Mindful Days, which combines teachings from the worlds of personal development, self-care, and wellness, will soon be her first book.

If you’d like to hear from her more often, you can subscribe to her newsletter here.

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