I’ve perhaps mentioned that I’ve transitioned to 90%-plus retired this calendar year. Since my profession was (and remains, at <10%) the law, and since that is nicely remunerative and not body-punishing by most lights, I got a lot of “why?” questions.
My commonest answer, which was true and feels like the major reason retirement was attractive, is that I’ve had a lot of deferred gratification, with desirable activities on the back burner for about 45 years, and I’d like to move many to the front burner. Law has been my livelihood, not my life.
Among those back burner items were not more blogging (which didn’t exist 45 years ago, after all) or time on Facebook and Twitter (ditto). Among them was more physical activity. (Sedentary law practice is its own kind of body-punishing, and it’s measured in rising BMI.)
As I try to adjust to the role of retired guy, though, compulsion to blog (even just cut and paste interesting stuff) and, to a lesser extent, keep up with Facebook and Twitter have started to loom undesirably large, and are becoming habitual. I’m virtually as sedentary as ever; books go unread; weights un-lifted; laps un-swum; trails un-biked; travels untraveled; etc.
Did I mention books unread? There’s no magic in books versus bits and bytes, but books from real publishing houses undergo vetting and editing that blatherskites on the internet don’t undergo. The bits and bytes advantage is currency and the ability to cut-and-paste readily, wherein also lies their addictiveness.
It’s time, then, for a change—and soon, before compulsion and inertia become addiction.
Andrew Sullivan, a unanimous first-ballot addition to the Blogger Hall of Fame, had to go cold turkey for a while. Rod Dreher may be pushing that, too. My less radical plan for change is:
- Random half-baked thoughts to my private journal. (Yeah, my followers have been getting too many of those.)
- Rage-monkey dies a merciless death (he’s pretty near death already).
- Mere curation shrinks dramatically. I’m adding to my standard footer a list of favorite website links again (see last line of this), though, should you find that helpful.
- What remains will be a higher proportion of original thought, often prompted by something I’ll cut-and-paste or quote from books (one of those back burner things), but probably more like a few times per week rather than daily.
This has been a pleasant hobby for me, but “moderation in all things” became a nostrum for a reason. If the world can survive me cutting my law practice by 90%-plus, it can survive my cutting blogging, too.
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