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100k Twitter Followers and Caffeine Addiction

by D.J. Paris on January 28, 2014

I crossed over 100k Twitter followers today.

Yes, it’s a not-so-subtle brag. But, screw it.  I’m taking a victory lap.

The victory lap equates to a night of eating pizza until passout.

Before the carbs and fat sink my consciousness I’m going to attempt to eek out this post.

I’m not proud here, but I’m back on caffeine. I’ve written about swearing off the stuff a few times. For a month or so I’m off it and then I get back on. Lately, I’ve been using it like crazy.

Most of America is hooked on caffeine, so what’s the big deal? For me, it’s different than the average consumer. I use it as an escape – a way to change my state. A high, as it were. In short, I abuse it.

The problem isn’t that caffeine is ruining my life (it’s not). It’s that I am “on” it most days all day long. Over the past few months I’ve become habituated to the drug and its positive effects are almost nil.

I no longer receive energy from caffeine. Maybe a slight pick me up in the morning, but it fades quickly. I have to increase my dosage for continued alertness. Since a stimulant’s main job is to stimulate, and mine isn’t working, what am I left with?

Well, I’ll tell you because I’m on it right now. I had two Diet Pepsis tonight before writing. For some reason caffeine now makes me anxious and scared. I’m not a naturally fearful person and I’ve never had anxiety problems. Yet as I’m typing this I’m feeling a slight sense of impending doom. Also, caffeine depresses me. It reduces my humor to nothing and induces some less-than-pleasant feelings. It makes me dark and foreboding. It crushes my creativity. I don’t get the rush of ideas throughout the day that I get when off the stuff.

So, with limited upside and a whole bunch of downside, why do it at all?

That’s a darn good question. I guess I’m still hoping caffeine will work – that it will give me pleasure and make me feel good. It did this in the beginning. No longer.

Well, I’m obviously using it to escape – escape what?

I’m afraid of regular, daily life.

Somehow I have the misaligned belief that if I’m not having extreme experiences I’m missing out. Of course 99% of life is living in the middle and not on the edge.

This is what I’m running from. In an effort to avoid the discomfort of regular life I escape through caffeine.

I’ve been exploring this addiction (with me it’s a definite addiction) for a few weeks and I’m about ready to let go of it entirely. Well, first, it isn’t working anymore as I mentioned earlier. But second, I’m retarding my growth. I’m not feeling emotions that would naturally arise. I’m just feeling the effects of the drug.

Today I decided that I wouldn’t buy caffeine no matter how much I wanted it. I walked by a grocery store and didn’t go in. My inner addict yelled, “You’ll feel better on it! It’s going to be fun!” Then, another voice started listing all the ways in which it would harm my day. These two voices battled for a few seconds.

Tonight, however, the addict voice won and I finished off the last two cans I had in the refrigerator. And just as I suspected I am feeling the negative effects throughout my body. They’ll wear off soon, but I’ll have the urge to drink caffeine again tomorrow.

The answer is simple – I must learn how to stay present without escaping. This means sitting in normal day-to-day discomfort. Boredom. Tiredness. Natural states we all experience. The feelings that I am terrified of.

I’m excited to get off the stuff and back to regular life. I’m sure I’ll be battling it over the next few days, but it’ll pass and I’ll be back to my normal non-extreme self. This time I’ll try to stay there permanently.

caffeine addiction

18 comments

The best thing about the internet is that I don’t have to know anything anymore.

There was a time, up until about fifteen years ago where I really needed to know stuff in order to get along in the world. During social engagements I’d rattle off facts and stats about a topic that I knew something about. Appearing smart by knowing information was important. If I didn’t know as much about a subject as I wanted to, in the moment I just might make up some shit about it. I’m not proud of this but it happened.

Once Wikipedia came to prominence I realized nearly everything I had stashed in my memory was inaccurate. Hell, I just learned that I’ve been screwing up longitude and latitude my whole life. Ultimately I gave up committing anything rote to memory. There’s no need to when I have direct access to any information I need right in my pocket. I’d rather look it up than scan the annals of my mind, anyway. Maybe I’m lazy. Or just maybe I’ve stumbled across something brilliant.

Nah, it’s not brilliant. But it’s a good idea, I think.

I believe that I only have so much room in my head. If there’s figures and facts and data swirling around in there it’s not going to leave much space for creativity. See, I believe we have a finite amount of brain power. Now that I’ve abandoned the idea of needing to save data in the short or long term memory slots, that space is now available for other things.

As far as I can tell most of my thoughts are either about fact recall or problem solving or creating new stuff. I’m on a warpath to get rid of fact recall.

I’ve been reading a lot about mindfulness meditation. Basically it’s learning how to get quiet and tune into the mind and body while moving around your day. And with technology I can do this without worry. For example I have no idea what my schedule consists of tomorrow. My calendar is synced up on my phone and computer and will tell me in the morning. If I need to prepare for a meeting I have a thing that pops up to remind me.

This leaves me with all sorts of additional time to devote to creating blog posts or thinking about future projects in my business.

Not that this post is any indication of my creative genius. It sucks. I’m not happy with it. In my mind this whole idea was going to make for a great read. It sort of didn’t. I can own it.

But now I’ll rack my brain to come up with something better tomorrow. And I’ll have the free space to do it!

gears

Yes, that’s it! I’ll write about gears tomorrow!

18 comments

Do you pick up spare change lying on the ground?

I don’t.

I realized this fact on Christmas Eve during our family’s annual holiday party. Carolyn and Laura are two sisters who grew up in our neighborhood. They’re both very successful. One’s a realtor and the other an attorney. The attorney (Carolyn) stated she always picks up change she stumbles across in the real world. Laura does not.

That led to a quick poll of the room.

About half of those in attendance said they picked up coins. When asked why they together barked, “Why not?” The picker-uppers didn’t have more explanation than that. Laura said, “Carolyn, you’re an attorney for God’s sake! You don’t need to pick up a penny.” Carolyn replied, “Yes, but now I’m one penny richer!”

What was interesting is that both camps did not understand the behavior of the others. We both thought each other was nuts.

To me, the idea of grabbing a penny off the ground doesn’t even register as something to do. I don’t use pennies in my life. I don’t use any change. The only time I used a coin in the past year was for a parking meter in a Chicago suburb. Oh, and also when my cat peed on my comforter and I had to go to the laundromat.

I pay for things in cash less than one percent of the time. Here in Vegas at a conference I do carry cash – for tipping. But other than that, it’s all credit cards. I want the airline miles!

I, with pride in my heart, whipped out my Mastercard two days ago at Walgreens for a $.37 purchase.

Now, I find coins on the ground three times a week minimum. Living in a big city, they’re everywhere. And I never bend down and grab them. Even if it’s a quarter, the holy grail of free change, I pass on by.

I started asking myself the tougher question. Like Descartes pondering existence, I wondered at what amount I would reach down and grab free cash. What is my threshold?

Pretty sure that Descartes joke is going to fall flat. I’m leaving it in.

The minimum amount is one dollar. If I ever come across a paper note, it’s going in my pocket. This has never happened.

So, now the question is begged – do I think I’m too good to pick up ground-change?

I’d like to say no, that it’s the dirtiness of the coins or that I’d hope someone else less fortunate finds it and puts it to use. But that shit ain’t true. I have no problem with dirt and grime, and I could always donate my change at the end of the year if I felt guilty about grabbing it.

No, the truth is this – I’m too good to pick up change.

I wish I weren’t typing that but it’s a sad reality. I feel powerful when I walk by a penny and refuse to stop. Like I’m a big shot who doesn’t have the time. And doesn’t need it.

Now, there’s no reality here – I’m not so wealthy that I don’t have the time. True, finding change isn’t going to speed up my retirement, but I’m not above visiting the CoinStar once a year to receive a small sum.

So, here’s my new proclamation – from now on I will now pick up EVERY coin I see lying in the street. I will donate all cash at the end of the year to something so I’ll feel like an ever bigger shot.

See what I did there? Clever, no?

Penny in Street

Whoever photog’ed this makes a penny look pretty g-d glamorous.

21 comments

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