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Translatable obsessiveness, part 1

As alluded to in other posts in recent months, I may be on the cusp of shifting obsessions again.

My personality is such that I tackle a subject that interests me with intensity and passion, devouring and synthesizing information and theory in such a way that I annoy those close to me with my focus and excitement. I become a zealot. An evangelist. A nerd. Or as my sister recently observed in a comment on this blog, a little Asperger syndrome-y. I dig in and don't stop until I get saturated with the subject matter.

That doesn't mean I become a full-fledged expert on anything. That's the other part of my personality. Sure, my rabid consumption of all things Scientological (from the point of view that it's ridiculous and evil) brought my knowledge of the subject several orders of magnitude beyond what any casual observer might know -- but I never went out and picketed or took a course. I became an expert, but among experts, I'm sure I'd still be considered a poser or noob.

My most recent 'obsession' has been personal finance. Yeah, I've been reading PF blogs every day, reading books, watching TV shows and saving and investing more than I can probably even afford in an effort to apply the knowledge I've absorbed. Compared to an everyday broke schmoe, I'm probably some kind of 'expert'. But again, the experts would recognize that I couldn't explain how bonds work, that I don't have a discount brokerage account, that my non-registered stock holdings are completely undiversified, and that I have whole-life insurance instead of term. I've raised my level of expertise, but among experts, I'm a small-change chump.

It occurred to me a coupla months ago -- okay, if I'm able to be so gazelle-intense (to lift a phrase from pious debt-slaying evangelist Dave Ramsey) about any particular obsession ... why haven't I applied that kind of passion and determination to the two remaining blatant flaws in my lifestyle? Of course, those are my smoking and my weight.

If I'm so goddamned smart and clever and intelligent and passionate, why am I still an obese smoker? If I have the tools to make sweeping positive changes in so many areas of my life, rehabilitate my weak spots by gathering the best knowledge available and implementing it (even half-assedly) to produce significant benefits to my being ... why am I still puffing and pudgy? What the hell?

Do I have an answer?

Of course I don't!

If I had the answer, I wouldn't have a pack of cigarettes on my desk and a fat gut between the chair and the desk. There needs to be a paradigm shift. There needs to be a eureka moment. I need to hit a bottom, I suppose.

Perhaps I can manufacture a bottom. Not bottom like my butt, bottom like rock bottom. Like, "oh heavens, I spent so much on cigarettes that I cannot afford cable TV!" or "deary me, this tobacco has gummed up my heart, and if I smoke anymore I shall die forthwith!" or "good lord, I'm so fat that my girlfriend becomes dyspeptic upon sight of my girth!" ... I dunno.

I just gotta find some switch to go from talk-the-talk to walk-the-walk ... although I'm finding it's going to take more than walking to get this thing done.

More to come.


  1. my dear friend,
    this is a familiar situation to me, and i sympathize; i am noting here that i will likely be seeing you soon--six weeks from today, i believe. i'm challenging both of us to having some sort of results to brag about by then. (and no, time spent sitting around eating baconators and considering the situation doesn't count!)

    whattaya gonna do? :)

    throwing down the gauntlet and leaving the ball in your court at the same time,

    your out-west pal

  2. Ha! I was just reviewing that myself (the "why can I apply myself in some areas of my life and not the ones that count" thing)... That's actually why June 5th (same time as you I see) I started to "manage myself" like I would a project. Working well so far; today I'm down 20 pounds.Still more to go but the wheels are in motion, pedal to the metal. If I could email you I would tell you more LOL!

  3. buggy: How 'bout this ... I weighed in at 235 pounds today. I'll be five pounds down, with ten bike rides under my helmet by the time we head to Ontario on August 10. A good start?

  4. hey mang,

    don't ask me, if that's a good start,if you think that's a good start then it is!

    I'm not big on numbers when it comes to pounds, but x number of bike rides sounds like a good way of measuring progress; my goal is to increase 'active' activity to 3 or more times per week, 'active' activity being a good challenging bike ride, a couple hours hauling compost, an evening kayaking or even a visit to the dreaded gym.

    wishing us both inspiration and perspiration!

  5. Remember this, whether you believe you can or you can't--
    you're right!


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