Sunday, November 25, 2012

Inertia: The Enemy Within

Sorry for the over-serious, sci-fi title to this entry!

Inertia is something that annoys me about myself. And I'm sure I'm not alone. It's that sense of wanting to do something, learn something, change something about myself...knowing that if I do it I'll be really happy, even if I just take the first step - and yet...not getting off my butt and actually doing anything.

The most obvious example in my life is physical fitness. When I'm into something like martial arts or cycling or lifting I'm dedicated to it and I love it. Once I fall out of the habit, I feel like I need a stick of dynamite up my ass to get moving again! I'm just now getting back into lifting on a regular basis after working some horrendous hours, but I'm still forcing myself to go each morning. Other things in life are like that as well: practicing piano, drawing, meditation. Right now, everything feels that way. Inertia rules me at the moment. Unlike.  

Inertia is insidious; I always have a good excuse for being in my rut. Right now, the excuse is work. "I work so many hours, and I'm so tired when I get home that I don't want to do anything but decompress in front of the TV. Blah blah blah..." It's a legitimate excuse sure, but that's why it's so insidious. The fact is that I know when I lift or draw or practice piano or do martial arts or meditate or do anything I value that I'm much happier afterwards. It even helps me not mind the nasty thing that I'm using as an excuse as much. I just feel better about myself and my life.

So why don't I get up and just do something? Anything! Especially when I know it will make me happy? Inertia, that's why. Inertia is my resistance to that little effort required to stop being a slug. It blocks my way like a pile of dead walrus carcasses. And it self-perpetuates. Inertia creates a 'sameness' to each day in life. For example, I've been going to work and working hard and coming home and relaxing and then sleeping. That's pretty much been my day for the last several months: an unpleasantly predictable existence. That sameness breeds passivity, and this makes it harder to kill the inertia by introducing an element of change.

What shocks me out of this is destroying the sameness. That's why time off is so important or going out with friends. It breaks the monotony, even if only a little. That gets me focusing on other things or other people or some new experience or input. That can be enough to get things rolling and let me cut through the inertia. It's like when I hit a plateau in lifting weights. To get past it, I have to change my routine to shock my body into continuing to adapt. If I don't, my body gets used to the routine and I stagnate. Life is the same way.

Got a whole lot of time off let's see if I can shake this rut off. Die inertia die!

No comments: