Do you know there was a time when my primary pastime as a child was to stand at the gate and watch the world go by? We had neither TV, nor mobile, nor gaming, not even a library near our house. There was nothing for us to do to except count the number of vehicles that passed by and make a game out of it. We weren’t hooked to anything because life didn’t offer us such luxuries.
Compare it with the times now — modern life has made us all slaves to habits that we are unable to shake off. The grown-ups are addicted to TV shows and some even to shopping; the officegoers are addicted to work and meetings; and young ones like you (mostly) are addicted to, what else but gadgets and online games?
Addiction is a big, bad thing, which deep inside us we all know but refuse to admit because once something becomes a habit, we presume that life ceases to exist without it. Even when our head warns us about the adverse effects of being hooked to something, the heart says, ‘Go for it. Don’t stop. It’s fun.” It is the effect of surging dopamine on the brain.
Addictions are not easy to wriggle out of because they get deeply entrenched in our psyches. It is a complex issue that requires a combination of concerted attempts on our part to resolve. Most of the time, our brain does not even warn us that we are on the brink of losing ourselves to a habit that can become our nemesis. Our brain can be very deceptive and cunning at times, which is why it is hard to get out of bad habits. The only way to escape the eventuality is to consciously know that we are prone to something that will culminate in disaster. Being aware of our condition and admitting to it without cover-ups and alibis is the first step to get rid of it.
Often, we tend to drop a shroud on our bad habits or justify them in ways that will make us feel absolved. Or even worse, we throw a tantrum in our defence. When your parents wag a finger at your excessive screen time, you are irked because you know they are right but you don’t want to acknowledge it.
We all have our unique interests that make our lives fascinating, but those interests cannot be taken to the extreme and be made the sole focus of our existence. The moment we cross the line and enter the territory of ‘can’t do without it’, we lose control over our lives. Not all things we love are good for us.
Today, I want you to come into this awareness and start working towards your freedom from anything that may be holding you to ransom because to be at the mercy of a useless habit is a pathetic way to live. To begin with, do a self-debriefing. Ask yourself what you are hooked to, because we cannot cure an ailment until we make the diagnosis. Is it fast food? Sodas? Gadgets? Online games? Netflix? K-pop? Friends? Social media? Zero in on what you are a captive of, and we will try to find a way out of it in the coming weeks. Until then: Keep growing, keep glowing.