As I scrambled to find a podcast this morning before taking my dog for a walk, I realized how much energy I put into avoiding hearing my own thoughts. How sad. I have some thoughts people find rather interesting, but I can’t be left alone with them.

This realization led me to tweet. Which led me down a ten minute rabbit hole figuring out the latest debates and unimportant news. Then, since I had my phone out, I played a game. Before you know it, I had navigated through all the quiet time I would probably have for the entire day, successfully escaping any of the dreaded thought. Whew.

The boom in content (how I do hate that word, but haven’t found a substitute with higher WAR) is driven largely by our fear of our inner monologue. We will watch literally anything to avoid hearing that voice in our head. This desire is so insatiable, that there are millions of hours of podcasts, videos and articles about other shows and distractions. We would rather hear someone talk about a show we didn’t even like very much than sit with our own thoughts. Why?

Our inner monologue is often very deep. There has been an awful lot of bad news lately. What if I could make it all go away by watching other people play video games? This would surely mean disease, war and global crises aren’t really happening, right? While I’m watching the next game, all of those things are on pause. The people in Ukraine are safe. Oop, game is ending, better load the next to keep those people okay.

Insight: We often go to great lengths to keep ourselves from deep thinking, which can feel like work. Technology has made those lengths considerably shorter.

Our inner monologue is sometimes true. When we find quiet, our body can tell us something we don’t want to hear. You have to stop eating entire family-sized bags of candy, mine recently told me while the next episode of a show from Korea loaded on one of the two screens in front of me. The truth can be unpleasant. The truth about ourselves, often lands as a major to-do that gets added to the top of the pile. Keep teeth and heart in tact, dummy.

Our inner monologue goes places we try to avoid. Mine has been persistently pointing to a recent loss I faced. It’s too much. Or it seems like too much, but who the hell knows, I’m awesome at avoiding it. I’d prefer to watch highlights from sports I don’t even follow than ponder the influence my relationship with my father might have on my approach to parenting. Much rather.  

Anyway, as you’ve read this article, you’ve probably had the meta commentary running just on the outskirts of your inner monologue. Aren’t I distracting myself right now? Indeed you are, just as I did by writing it. Good news though: I managed to find a podcast with more than 200 episodes. That should keep me at bay for a few days.


Categories: Thought