Secretly, in the late night hours, I’ve been changing. You know our usual routine during school: I go to campus, then come home for dinner around 5pm and have some family time before trudging into our home office to knock out some more homework. By around 11pm, I’m beat. I wrap up my work and you’re in the next room, staying busy while you wait for me. But I’ve worked so hard that day, I deserve a little time to relax, right?
You would certainly agree.
So I log into Facebook, scroll through my news feed, catch up on my friends’ well-photographed lives and find a few funny videos. Nothing bawdy or lascivious, but I do slip on my headset so I can hear the videos without making you worry that I’m wasting time—I’m not wasting time, I’m using it to reenergize after a long day! And I know that you know I wouldn’t be taking this break if I didn’t need it. So I watch a few videos on my way down the world wide rabbit hole. I stay a little longer than I’d planned, but now I have such interesting nothings I can share with you! Not only have I relaxed, but I can improve our lives with my newfound trivia about underwater welding near Costa Rica. You love interesting stories!
And so it goes each night, having exhausted myself with algorithmic offerings, I slowly turn my attention to you and offer what’s left of my energy—the equivalent of a pixelated cat video frozen on a blurry frame, buffering endlessly. Reboot with a night of sleep and read from the same script the next day.
But remember my secret, darling?
Three weeks ago, I made a conscious swap: YouTube for You. Facebook for Your Face. When I finished my homework each night, I left my headset on its hook, sent my computer to sleep, and turned my full attention to you. Ahh, you’re nodding. You noticed.
To make the switch, I had to overcome some obstacles, so I turned to a clever six-cell model that addresses sources of influence. Personally, I was motivated to stop being bogged down by the lethargy my nightly forays produced. In the past, I had put away similar habits so I had the ability to recognize what was happening and physically hit the sleep button. Socially, you were in the next room over, waiting for me to finish my work. If I spoke up when I finished, then you would come in the office and both consciously and unknowingly rescue me from my energy trap. Structurally, I started leaving the office door open to increase the aural connection between our physical locations and I stopped reaching for my headphones—a sure sign of imminent video consumption.
There were a couple of nights with my headset on. But with persistence and by consistently pondering my motivations, I became more present for you. As I finished my work each night, I felt two prongs of success: one, for finishing a hard day of mental work, and two, for skipping the energy trap of counterfeit human connection. And as a wonderful bonus, I discovered an energy ritual to replace the nightly trap: you, my best friend, ready all along to like and share with me the fascinating stories from our own lives.