2 min read

Obsessions: The perfect way to avoid things

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I'm kind of intense, once I get *into* something. This time last year, I got into houseplants. It started with 6, and just a few weeks later, I had over 100. It's how I roll - I'm either into something, or not. There's not much of a middle ground. My family and friends are used to it now and have learned that resisting or raising objections will only result in me doubling down on it even harder.

It's generally OK, but sometimes it becomes a problem. Like when the obsession eats into other important areas of my life - shortchanging the time I have for my loved ones, or limiting my ability for self-care.

Often, my obsessions are displacement activities, rather than genuine creative impulses. I'm prone to using whatever I'm currently distracted by as an excuse for avoiding something else I don't want to deal with right now.

I have a particularly long list of new things I want to do at the moment. I'm keeping track of it in my bullet journal, and so far it includes things like: starting The Alicia McKay Show podcast, getting new courses on the AM Academy, knitting, writing a novel, filming a docu-series on class migrants, getting stuck into landscaping and home renovations, starting a vegetable garden and painting a fence mural. I'm also thinking about getting chickens. 

I swing between work-related and non-work-related things depending on the day and how I'm feeling, but they all share one thing in common: they're generally a distraction, and a manifestation of my addictive personality.

I'm an addict by nature and genetics. Most of us are, to some extent. It's easier to numb ourselves in activities or substances than to deal with what's really hard. Gabor Mate does a much better job of explaining this than I do - check out his thoughts here.

Some addictions are more benign and socially acceptable than others, but whether you're a workaholic, shopaholic or alcoholic, they all exist on the same spectrum. I'm learning my impulses these days and while getting hooked on F45 or houseplants might be healthier or more virtuous than addictions of time past (smoking, compulsive working) they're still a sign of the same thing: I'm avoiding something.

Looking at my list right now, there's a few things on there I'm definitely going to do and some creative projects I can't wait to get stuck into, but there's also a couple of things that are really clear to me:

1. I need to take a deep breath, close a few internet tabs and work out what's actually going on

 2. I don't even like chickens.

 

The list isn't the problem. It's what's motivating it that might be.

What are you avoiding, and how are you avoiding it? 

Til next week,

A