OK. I need to say it: I have a problem.
I suffer from TMI, an apparently incurable disease that is prevalent in the academic community and I suspect that it may be just as prevalent elsewhere.
Having too many initiatives (TMI), that is what I suffer from.
The last post I wrote here was almost a month ago, and the one before that one was more than two months ago. In the 7 or 8 years that I have been writing this blog I have never had such long periods of silence. But recently, my capacity to keep up with the growing list of projects and initiatives that I involve myself in has shown its limits. I saw this coming, sure, but I thought that I would be smart enough to avoid overcommitting myself, or smart enough to delegate many of the tasks that can be delegated. Neither of these things has happened as successfully as I had hoped, and the net result is that, in order to keep my promises, I find myself needing to sacrifice some of my personal time to cover for the increase in responsibilities.
This seems to be a classic problem. I’m sure that there are thousands of blog posts exactly like this one. Regardless of this, I write bout the situation because to me writing is perhaps the only sure way I know to maintain my mental health. Yet this is precisely one of the things that I have had to cut back on in order to meet other commitments and be able to deliver on the many initiatives that I have purposefully or circumstantially joined in the past year or so.
Writing (at least the writing that I do for pleasure) has been relegated to a third or fourth plane, even though I am convinced that in doing so I am putting myself in a dangerous path that begins with a decrease in my general mental processing abilities, followed by mild depression and ends in some kind of violent decision required to regain my balance. You see, if I don’t write, my mind becomes a cluttered space filled with unlabeled and unprocessed ideas; phrases, voices and images that continue to pester me because I have not given them the attention that they deserve. Some of them can remain silent, only to assault you in the middle of the night, at which time they rejoice knowing that they have caused you to wake up and consider them. Others set themselves as permanent background images over which all other thoughts are placed during the day. I sometimes find it terrifying to go to sleep when they are still calling, not sure about what they may be planning to do to my helpless self at the other side of the consciousness curtain. Thankfully I have found that listing them down on a piece of paper, one by one, does provide them with enough nurturing to allow me to sleep without any disturbances.
One of these recurring thoughts, which has certainly helped cause my silence in this blog, is this initiative to redesign the website. I am utterly bored with the current design of this site. Its typefaces, the layout, the headings and styles, the icons, the sections… The seed of this thought was sown by the endless list of beautiful designs that I have been running across on the web as a result of a heightened awareness of typography and web design brought by my work on this site. I know. That is an endless loop: improving your skills means improving your awareness, which in turn allows you to notice where you can improve your skills.
So, there, I said it: I am an overcommitted, obsessive-compulsive person who despises his current web design and needs writing therapy to keep some mild paranoid traits at bay.
To be able to write this post, I had to use a simple text editor given that I would not have been able to write a single word if I were writing this from the WordPress interface as it would remind me of the site’s design and all that. On another post (for which I hope to find the energies to write), I may describe in detail the requirements I have in mind for a redesign of this site in case any of you want to help out.
I started writing this thinking that it would lead me to listing down each one of the “too many initiatives” that I have committed to, but it seems that this wasn’t necessary. My mental clutter has been reduced just by writing these few paragraphs.
Oh, and it’s past 10:00pm EDT, which means that I will have to spoof my MAC address in order to gain access to the Internet and post this before going to bed, since I’ve set my router to restrict access to any of my devices between 10pm and 5am in order to prevent myself from surfing into the dangerous waves of the web that somehow show up at this time of the night and quickly turn into giant vortices that spit you back at 3am. Obsessive-compulsive? Crazy? Of course not.