It's All Goodnow……

Day 53

Productive night.

I applied to volunteer at the local community center. 

Found a writing class.  It meets on Monday nights for 10 weeks. 

Worked on how I plan on spending/allocating my bonus this year.   It will be good for a new pair of shoes and some penny candy.  Which means I am hoping for a better bonus than last year.

For some reason I felt the need to either eat a pint of ice cream or drink a pot of coffee at 9:30 pm.  I went for the pot of coffee.  Yeah, I’ll be up all night, but at least I’ll be able to do some writing.   (I also figure I’m saving 1,000 calories by not eating the ice cream)

Olympics = awesome.  Perfect for the current sports lull that takes place between the Superbowl and the NCAA conference tournaments.

I might have to play quarterback for my fraternity football game.  Not used to playing QB without a delayed rush.   The more I think about it the more excited I’m getting.

Only 5 days until I’ll be enjoying an ice cold beer. 

I want to go skiing.

I might run a 10k in Maine at the sight of my pre-school.  The race is in August and I think it would be fun to go up there for a weekend.

Google, Gettysburg Address, homework

If you have a question where do you typically turn for the answer? 

I go to Google.   Any argument I’m having over pure fact, I stop.  I simply go to Google.  Solved.  

It made me wonder….what does that do to our educational system?  If every answer is at our fingertips what is the point of learning arbitrary facts?   Why should a 13 year old kid memorize the Gettysburg Address if he can bring it up on his IPhone in 4 seconds?   I’m not attempting to discount the importance of learning about the Gettysburg Address.  Rather, I think  this instant access to information presents an opportunity.   A way to curb the way something is taught.

I had to memorize the Gettysburg Address when I was a kid.  You know when I forgot it?  About the time I uttered the words “and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”   As soon as those words came out of my mouth, I was done.  You know what was lost within all of those long hours of memorization?  A clear understanding of what the Gettysburg Address accomplished.   What the true impact of that speech had on society.  That speech was not just about slavery or states rights.  There were deeper meanings that my teacher never bothered to explain.   Instead we were meant to memorize 3 paragraphs and recite them.  That isn’t learning. 

My idea here is that the advances in technology give us a chance to think about what is taught.  An interesting concept.  I feel that the majority of what I learned in high school and college I have long forgotten.  But you know what I haven’t forgot…..how to think.  How to solve problems.  To look at issues from more than one viewpoint.    Facts are great, but they are just that.  Facts.  Anyone can check a fact.  To teach someone to think….that’s education.

What must homework be like these days?  If you can just get the answers to all of your questions by typing them into a search engine, what is the point?

Thanks

After this next Saturday I will again, not drink for a short period of time.  I will take from Feb. 28th – March 21st off.  It got me thinking. 

Why did I do this?  What is the goal?  And frankly, the real question could be, do I have a drinking problem?   I was talking with some friends about my drinking hiatus.  I described it in a few ways:

I was bored with drinking.

I was drinking too much.

I wanted to use the absence of alcohol to focus my energy on something more productive.

Being bored with drinking made me feel like drinking was more of a habit than a problem.  Drinking had become a staple of my routine.  Part of what I would do on a daily basis.  When work was over I would go to the bar or go home and open a bottle of wine/ 6 pack (which I would usually go out again to get another), or have a couple whiskeys with water.   I would usually get buzzed and about half the time I would say I would be drunk by the time I fell asleep.   A few things about that started to bother me.  No variation.  You can go to 4,000 different places to drink in the city, but every night was the same.

I was drinking too much:  You know how much is sucks to wake up with a hangover?  Multiply that by every single day.  Weekends didn’t start until noon.   I was gaining weight because I wasn’t working out (nevermind the $90 a month I was wasting by not using the gym).  I wasn’t happy with myself.  I wanted to accomplish something other than throwing back 8 Bud Lights a night.  I wanted to work on my screenplay (I have done more of that, but not nearly as much as I would like).    I was drinking just to drink.  I was drinking because it was what I was supposed to do at night. 

Being more productive:  This blog is the perfect example.  I have a creative outlet that I have not had in a long time.  It has been years since I have written on a consistent basis.  Each day I have made it a point to read something significant, be it a chapter in a book or an article in The New Yorker.  Lastly, I ran 11.4 miles today.  That is the farthest I have EVER run.  I am 28 days away from running my first half marathon.  On January 1st I would have laughed at someone if they said I would be running 13.1 miles on March 21st.

The last 52 days have been eye opening.  I’ve rediscovered my creative side.  Rediscovered some drive.  Rediscovered that I can go out and have a good time without spending $150, just to wake up at noon the next day with a nasty headache and no interest in doing anything other than watch TV.   Maybe I needed this to grow up. 

I’d like to thank everyone who has sent along encouragement about writing the blog.  It’s been a lot of fun for me and I’m glad people have enjoyed reading. 

Have a great week.