Posts Tagged With: Addiction

The One Year Anniversary of the New Me

Even our Amish parents and siblings made it to our beach wedding.

Even our Amish parents and siblings made it to our beach wedding.

One year ago I was working a dead end job and “investing” in a business by going into credit card debt, I was several thousand dollars in debt, I was living in a big house with people I wasn’t getting along with anymore, I had too much stuff, I was addicted to Mountain Dew, I was struggling with personal upheavals related to a fundamental shift in my worldview, and I was dreaming of someday getting a college degree.

I had always planned on enrolling in college as soon as I was financially stable–as soon as all my debts were paid off, the business was doing well, and I could afford to take a several year sabbatical to pursue an education. Then almost exactly a year ago, I was encouraged to enroll in college despite my responsibilities. I was encouraged to enroll in college even if it was just to take one course at a time. I was persuaded to enroll in college and try it despite my constantly-changing plans for the future.

It didn’t take a lot of consideration before I decided to enroll. My life was getting stagnant, and college, it seemed, was exactly what I needed. I enrolled in college, but I did way more than that. I took the opportunity to completely reorganize my life and my priorities.

The first thing we (myself and my fiancee at the time) did was move out of the big house where we lived with 5-7 other people. We moved into my aunt’s nice vacation home and cut some of the toxic personal relationships that had been dragging us down for the past year. I quit the minimum wage dead end job that I had been using to help make ends meet until my online business brought in more sales, and I stopped deluding myself into thinking that I would be able to survive on my business income anytime soon. I quit pumping money, energy, and time into the business. Instead, I began a part-time lawn care job. The work was hard, but it paid way more than minimum wage.

By transferring my time from internet marketing and a minimum wage part-time job to lawn care, I was able to pay off several thousand dollars of debt that I had incurred over the previous three years. In fact, working only 2-3 days a week, I was able to pay off most of my debt and still have the time and money to go to college full time. The only debt I have left is a bit on my vehicle loan (which I had purchased a month before losing my internet marketing job about three years ago). To help support my addiction to higher education, I also sold most of my stuff and cut my expenses as much as I possibly could.

Because my life was changing so much, I decided it was also time to quit my excessive inhalation of Mountain Dew. I quit that without a problem and even cut down on my smoking.

The biggest change in the last year, however, was getting married. When I asked her about 9 months ago, we had been dating for more than 5 years. Why so long? First of all, we lived together for most of those 5 years, so getting married wasn’t something that seemed like too big of a lifestyle change. More importantly, much like college, I had been waiting to get married until I was “financially stable” whatever that means. Enrolling in college without that financial stability forced me to question my justification for waiting to marry. Long story short, we got engaged and had an awesome beach wedding five days ago.

That, in a nutshell, is how my life changed over the past year. Sometimes, you gotta know when to fold ’em and start fresh with a new hand, and that’s what I did a year ago. So far, life is looking much better. My only regret is that I didn’t do all of this when I first lost my job instead of wallowing around for next three years in various entrepreneurial pursuits.

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Categories: College, College Life | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Television: A Student’s Nemesis

tv-46909_640Here I am trying to write, but something keeps distracting me. It’s Chuck. Whenever I try to ignore him and try to get something done, Chuck whispers quietly to me. I don’t even like him that much, but unless I give him my undivided attention, he just keeps bugging me. It hasn’t always been like this. A few weeks ago I had never heard of Chuck. A few weeks ago it was Dexter that kept bugging me.

Yes… I’m talking about television. I have this bad habit of falling for television series. I’m not content watching one episode a week. Oh no. Not when I can watch five seasons in two weeks on Netflix or some darker corner of the web. I really liked Dexter–I think it’s a brilliant show for the most part. Watching Dexter was like taking a voyage into the depths of my psyche. It was like a character study of some dark, eccentric, and lonely portion of myself, and so I was able to wisely spend (i.e. waste) my time without feeling too guilty. I was deeply saddened after I watched the final episode and realized that Dexter was gone forever. Now, I’m watching Chuck. I don’t particularly like it. I think it’s poorly written and not even faintly realistic. I just don’t understand why I can’t stop watching it. Every time I get hungry I use it as an excuse to nuke a TV dinner or pour a bowl of cereal and watch 45 minutes of Chuck. Then I watch another one. Before I know it it’s 4:00AM and I’ve blown most of the day and the next.

When I’m not watching “my show”, whatever it may be at the moment, I have trouble focusing and I experience withdrawal symptoms. If I give in and watch an episode, I feel dirty and guilty for not having accomplished something more productive… like studying for finals. The only solution seems to be to watch every episode as quickly as possible–to get it over with so I can concentrate on studying again. After such a marathon I’m usually good for a few weeks or even months, but eventually I start getting edgy and I begin feeling burned out with my life. When that happens, I examine myself and my lifestyle and try to figure out what’s wrong, and I realize that what I’m missing is a good television series.

Help! I think I need a vacation.

Categories: College, College Life | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

No More Dew Boy

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This isn’t my stack. Mine would’ve been way bigger!

I enjoy a can of Mountain Dew about once or twice a month. Not bad huh? Well, for years I had gulped this nectar of the gods at a rate of 5 or 6 cans a day. In fact, it was so bad that the friendly clerk at my neighborhood convenience store knew me only as ‘Dew boy’. Any of my friends could go into the convenience store and tell the clerk that Dew boy needed cigarettes and the clerk would hand them my cigarettes (another bad habit that I plan on quitting). Oh, and it had to be cans. Mountain Dew in plastic bottles doesn’t taste the same… I swear!

I knew that drinking soda to that excess couldn’t be good for my long-term survival, but the sugar and caffeine gave me boosts throughout the day that were phenomenal. The first thing I’d do upon awakening (in the late forenoons) was grab a cold can of the good stuff. Was I addicted to it? Maybe, but if I was, that addiction was nothing like my addiction to nicotine. Most likely, I was just habituated to the taste and the sugar rush.

The final push that got me to quit was one of my Facebook friends. I had never met the guy, but we had inhabited few a similar email groups over the years. He is one of those new-Agey, conspiracy-theorist, health nuts, but his posts bashing the ‘Man’, which included soda companies, gave me the final push to quit. I had always wanted to quit, and everybody around me told me that I would get fat and diabetic because of it. It didn’t help that my body requires little maintenance–I can work out for a month and enjoy ripped abs for the next several years during which time I do nothing but sit at my computer. The effect of excessive soda consumption was just not making itself seen in my body. Still, every 200th can or so brought along with it a foreboding sense of impending doom, and I wanted to quit… I really did. I decided that 2013 would be the perfect year to quit given the ongoing reinvention of myself.

So here I am–essentially Mountain Dew free. Quitting wasn’t as hard as I imagined it would be. I simply stopped buying the stuff. Probably the biggest help in quitting was an ever-present glass of water on my desk. Every time I got the urge, I drank some water. I also upped my coffee intake from one to three or four cups a day. Looking back, it wasn’t nearly as difficult to quit as I had imagined it would be. I’m glad I did it. Now it’s on to the quitting of more difficult things.

Image credit: Stack of Mountain Dew image copyright (c) 2005 Dan Carter and made available under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).

Categories: College Life | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments

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