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April 3, 2009

My name is Soren Jacobsen, and I’m an addict.

Filed under: Uncategorized — sbj @ 4:07 am

I was having a conversation a couple of days ago and the proverbial lightning struck. After saying “that is what I am shooting for, I’m just not there yet” for about the third or fourth time, I realized that I have a dependency problem. I am dependent on my bad habits and vices.

While it is true taht I need to form new good habits, I also need to acknowledge and break my bad ones. This may not seem like a major revelation to you, perhaps it shouldn’t even have been to me, but it was. I have always thought I could/would/should improve my life by forming new good strong habits. While this is a good thing to do, I also have to break my bad ones, and those two things are far less interconnected than I have imagined them to be.

For example, limiting myself to affirming positive conversations, being uplifting instead of conversing by reduction (bringing people or things down) requires not only a focus on the positive, but a concerted effort to break my dependency on the low hanging fruit of snark and sarcasm.

I grew up surrounded by sarcasm, in my home, in my school and in my community. The cool kids were also the snarky ones. If you could throw down a quick quip here and there, you were a “made man,” if not… well future quips probably had something to do with you. Sarcasm became part of me, second nature (perhaps even first nature, to be honest), and over the years I have developed an dependency upon it. In some ways, it defines me, and something that defines you is never easy to let go of, even after you recognize it as not being one of your better characteristics.

Surrounding myself with positively messaged music that inspires and uplifts requires me to also remove the remaining vestiges of negative or angry music. Again, many of those songs in one way or another define me, or at least define a past stage of my life. How do you reject the theme songs of your 20’s without rejecting yourself in the process?

It takes no effort to immerse myself in India Arie and Michael Franti; however, making my toes stop tapping and my arms stop waving to Snoop, Dre and 2pac just isn’t as easy. I know what I want to do, I just struggle to do it.

I extol the virtues of “green” but only in the last 48 hours have I begun turning off the computers every night. I rail against waste, and then I walk down to Jack in the Box and grab a 5 piece bag of mini-churos, supporting that poster child of excess, gluttony and waste, the fast food restaurant.

I want to eat well, I want to eat local and I want to stop supporting establishments that produce, encourage or enable waste. But I grew up with treats, I like sweets, and sometimes my desire for it overrides my passion for conservation.

In other words sometimes, my bad habits, which I have not broken, overpower the good habits that I have embraced.

The bottom line is this. My development as the person I want to become is, at times, being outpaced by my desire to become the person I want to become. I cannot break all of my bad habits fast enough to clear the way the good ones to replace them.

So I wind up , for a period of time, at least, being a hypocrite. Not because I am , in fact, unwilling to simultaneously make things good for both the goose and the gander, and certainly not for want of doing so, but because I am in simply not there yet on letting go.

I know the right behavior, I preach the right behavior, but I have not let go of the bad behavior completely yet. Much like a smoker, alcoholic or drug user who is hooked, knows better, tells others of their mistakes and pitfalls so that they can learn from them… and then falls back into them; I wind up dipping back into the pool while at the same time cautioning my children (for example) not to get into it in the first place.

Yep, I’m an addict…. an addict of my own past… an addict of myself. I’m working hard every day to kick the habit, and the first step is admitting you have a problem… right?

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3 Comments »

  1. Soren, I appreciate your sharing such intimate and painful pieces of yourself. I believe that you have taken the first steps towards changing those things you struggle with in that you have admitted to yourself (and your readership) those things that you feel are holding you back, if in fact they are holding you back. I think that, like many of us, you are far to harsh on yourself – while I like to believe that I have moved on from my misspent youth, I also like hearing REO Speedwagon occasionally, and even if I don’t purposely seek them out for my listening pleasure. It is nice looking back where I was to gain perspective on where I am now.

    While you might not turn off your computers every night, I remind you that you do avail yourself to your local public transportation. And, therefore, I believe that you are far greener than most of your fellow Americans – even if you have miles to go compared to Ed Begley and his cronies.

    As for sarcasm and snark – I would kindly and gently remind you that I see in you a most sincerely caring and concerned individual, and that when caring and concern is truly needed, all that is sarcastic and snarky fades into the woodwork and is neither visible nor vocal.

    So, if you are looking for constructive criticism – then I would tell you that you are a work in progress… one that is far better than some, working to be better than others, and humble enough to share where he is today.

    And, for that I am thankful to call you friend.

    Very thankful….

    Comment by Kat — April 3, 2009 @ 4:36 am

  2. Hi Soren!

    Comment by terri — April 3, 2009 @ 5:46 am

  3. Soren:

    If there’s one thing I see very little of in you it’s snarky or sarcastic.

    Now, maybe that’s just Rupe being oblivious, but, seriously, Rupe doesn’t see it much.

    And I agree with lots of what Kat’s said above.

    You’ve recognized it … and if you truly see it as a problem, that’s half the battle. Go with that. “Journaling” helps in recognizing you’re making progress. It might make things easier.

    I’ven’t much more to add than has been stated. If you think you need to change, more power to you and prayers your way.

    Go get’em, Tiger!

    Fond Wishes ……………. Ruprecht

    Comment by Ruprecht — April 3, 2009 @ 6:00 am

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