Self Manipulate and Listen to Your Inner 8-Year-Old

Most things can be positive up and until they’re not.

I’m dealing with too many addictions to be addicted to all at once. It’s a cycle between vices in an effort to leave no stone unturned. For those of you who can relate, you know running on this hamster wheel can be positive or negative, depending on the situation.

Right now, I’d give a lot for a few clean weeks in a row. No, I don’t have a drug problem, unless you think the regularly dumped homemade pumpkin deserts in the break room should be listed on a federal schedule. 

I want clean time. Time without the news telling me what to think, little get-togethers telling me to stay just a few more hours… Or maybe a few evenings in a row without some savvy producer using a cliffhanger to tell me that just one more episode is in my best interest before going to bed… 

You see, like the yearling calf that nuzzles for a few more behind-the-ear scratches in the morning, making me late for work… most things can be positive up and until exactly when they are not.

A calf stands in front of other young calves, grass is green, field is open in the background and the sky is full of beautiful colors.
Jersey Girl is too cute to walk away from.

Through our mastery of iron, dead dinosaurs, and economies of scale we suddenly live in a world of plenty. Where the only shortage is a dwindling supply of focus. 

We’ve conquered the land, the airwaves, and through clever marketing, each other. But when the dust settles and the commute ends, the last frontier sits right between our own ears. With dark foreboding shadows reminiscent of the wilderness of old, we bravely step to the edge on occasion to consider slower choices before some other pursuit calls us back to reality. Then, it’s off to the external races once again. 

Yet, it is true that the outdoors is noticeably absent from this cacophony of calls for our attention. A mind saving experience that just happens, sans guide or a display, is the product no one is selling. Resulting in an opportunity occasionally… mostly… invariably ignored.

Maybe I need a man inside my head with a slick suit and a quick smile? He’d say: “Don’t listen to those frauds! The meal you want is in that garden right there and the adventure you need is free just down the road.” 

But thankfully that man isn’t a thing, particularly because if he was they’d find a name for my situation in the DSM-5.

However, there is a little boy in knee-high rubber boots that’s been with me all along. Maybe I’ll see what he wants to do today…

8-year-old Nick stands along a frozen river with his rubber boots and walking stick.
8-year-old Nick in his backyard by the Le Sueur River.
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This post was written by Nick Schmitz in November, 2020.

Nick sits in canoe and Luna swims in the water

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