27 October 2020

43 Days of Isolation

Disclaimer: I was not actually isolated for 43 days, at least not as isolated as I would have liked. But more on that in a sec…

Here’s how it all started: On Feb 29, I spontaneously decided that I would make the day special by becoming unreachable. Just for a day. But the next day I made the even more spontaneous decision to extend my absence until 12 April 2020 (Easter). Blame it on my parents for trying to raise me Catholic, but I figured it would be poetic to pull a Jesus and come back to [social] life on that day. Yet I did not take the time to tell many people what my plan was, and I did not bother to come back just to say “hey, I’m back just to say I will be gone!” (talk about begging for attention…).

The next thing I want to say is that I didn’t actually disappear at all. I simply left the three main platforms that I use: WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook. When I told friends that I was still using LinkedIn, Twitter, and even Tinder, some friends said “well, technically that’s still social media”. It is. Yet I specifically used the term “WIF” for the only platforms that I left. A lot of you know how much I love catching people on contradictions, so I was not gonna shoot myself in the foot on this one.

It’s crazy how much can be impacted by such a minor change. I only left those three platforms, and yet some people seemed to think “he’s dead with coronavirus” rather than sending an email or checking other platforms. I must give a shoutout here to my friend Alexander. On the one hand, he is one of those smarty pants who claimed to catch me “breaking my commitment” after I messaged him on LinkedIn. On the other hand, he is also one that went extra lengths to find me by reaching out to a colleague on Facebook. So here’s your shoutout prize, bro 😘

But now let’s talk about the reasons why I left.

Everything happens for a reason (the cause)

Honestly? I just said “fuck it”. I do that sometimes. Want to try out a highly-unlikely-legal-initiative? Fuck it. Wanna move to Bolivia for a girl you’ve barely spent 27 days with? Fuck it! Wanna start your life from zero yet again in Munich? f-u-c-k i-t b-r-o!

But please don’t ever confuse seemingly-arbitrary decision-making with a lack of commitment.

As soon as people doubted how long I could do it, I was triggered. Many of my closest friends know: don’t trigger me to prove a point. Even I know that this is a weakness of mine. But that’s also exactly why I’ve learned to use it as a strength. And I used it to drive me in this little experiment: I am known as someone who is always on his phone and texting people, so of course it’s hard to think that I would survive without my WhatsApp, Insta or Fb for over a month. But I needed to prove a point to myself, so I committed to it.

And lo and behold, one week after I fully committed, my work decided to enter the home office ban, so I didn’t even get to socially interact with colleagues. This means I was alone in terms of digital connections, and now also alone in terms of personal ones. It’s as if the universe was testing me and asking “are you sure you’re committed to this? Because I can make things more difficult just to test you”. At this point, even my friend Clyde had changed his tone. First he had said “How about doing it for lent. Then id give u actual props“. But now his words were “Just stop. Not really sure it’s worth it from a practical standpoint.”

Yet here I am, coming back when I said I would and not a minute earlier.

“Ok, so what was the upshot of it all?”

The upshot was finding out that I’m still here.

What I mean is that over the past 6 years, people seem to think I’m ‘so extroverted’ because I write on a blog. They tell me I’m not shy cause I share some very personal stories. And they tell me I’m ‘so outspoken’ because I tell “shut up” to people who love the sound of their own voice. Well, I despise my own voice (hence why I prefer to write 😉). I have also explained that this blog started when my dad said I close myself in too much about my personal life and stories.

So at some point, when everyone thinks you are a certain person, you start to wonder: Am I?

The answer is: “No. I’m not.” I originally hinted at my absence with a Schopenhauer quote about being alone, yet part of me wanted to go with one that many people might have found more surprising and aggressive: “I don’t want to be alone, I want to be left alone.” See, I’m actually very good at being alone. There are so many of those stories that haven’t even made it to this blog. But I proved it to myself again during this period. And even before then, I could spend days in my room without any human contact before I realize “holy shit, what day is it and when is the last time I ate?” Originally I wanted to go to the mountains and just sit there on my own for a month (with internet, of course, I’m still a millennial). But unfortunately I wasn’t born rich enough to afford that sort of disappearance. Anyway, that might be my next trick in a few years. Let’s see.

Everything happens for a reason (the effect)

Among the lessons that I learned. I realized that I miss basketball and that I’m reaaally into writing. I mean. I knew that about the writing. But during this period I tried to “read” all these books I’ve started and I didn’t get far into anything before I had a massive urge to write more and more.

One of the articles that I started drafting is called “Everything Happens for a Reason”. And it’s precisely about the fact that some people use this statement as a tautological description [of cause and effect] while others use it as a prescription for every mental ailment. “Everything you suffer has an ultimate underlying cause that will be revealed to you when you reach your happy ending!”

Well, now that we are at the happy ending of my absence, and close to the happy ending of this post, let me tell you the reason why this “happened”:

I love so many people. In so many places. A year ago I wrote that I didn’t want any more horcruxes. Call me cheesy (which I definitely am lol), but when it comes to your soul being split, I am everywhere. I could never tell you if my soul is in Kansas with my parents, in Mexico with my childhood and my cousins, or all over the world with friends and romances that I will never completely “get over”. I don’t ‘get over’ anything if we are being honest. I never got over my first girlfriend Danielle; I simply became a good and hopefully-lifelong friend of hers. I never got over my second girlfriend; we simply haven’t reconnected (though I have genuinely considered it). I never got over just about any story that I have and haven’t shared in this blog. They are all a part of me, and I embrace them. Fully, even if not always openly to the public.

Even my last post. Only 3 of my closest friends knew about it when I posted it. And only those 3 friends have read it because it is password-protected. It is very personal. So one major lesson that I have learned over this period is that I am still way too intense for public-minded people yet not always deep enough for the private-minded. I even learned this from the last love-triangle that I was caught up in, so I have very much suffered the necessary pains to learn my lesson. Rather than discussing this, let’s get to the logical conclusions…

2=1

That is the final thing that I want to conclude with. 2=1.

I once had a very heated debate with two friends about how nonsensical this was and how ‘this would never ever be true’. Yet it is. It’s hard to make sense of it, of course. Especially when you have no idea what type of thinking it requires in order to be understood. But I’m so Ed-sure about this that during my isolation I even wrote a philosophy paper about this very topic and submitted it for a conference. Will it be accepted? Probably not, ich spreche ihre Sprache noch nicht so gut, also sie können meine Meinung höchstwahrscheinlich nicht völlig verstehen. Does that mean I’m wrong about it? Eh. Read the whole thing and process it, then we can talk about it (and I would certainly love to). Much like my made-up word “sonderbodhi“, this final formula might take you more than a minute to think about and digest. Because I like complicated stuff like that.

Sometimes my friends tell me to “cut to the chase” or “get to the point” with my stories or ideas. Yet the simpler I make it, the more I end up having to explain. If I summarize it all to one word or just a few sentences, we end up arguing about what I meant; but if I try to set the context and story line, some people ask me to skip to the ending… and we are back to the first problem. So of course it’s all about the middle ground. It’s about giving short and direct answers that don’t lead to more questions. Yet I have learned that this always depends on the individuals, and the more I try to “cater to everyone”, the more I am confronted with either “you are ranting” or “that word means nothing”.

So before I start ranting, let’s just leave it at this:

Question: “What was 43 days of isolation like?”
Answer: “2=1”

Question: “Do you ever get to a point within this blog?”
Answer: “Sonderbodhi!”

If you are into the short and direct answers, then I can’t make it simpler for you, so there you go, enjoy!
If you’re into long conversations…. well… I’m back, baby! So what I meant to say when I ghosted for 43 days was…

As I final note, I just want to add how you can expect me to respond moving forward. A lot of these are pretty common-sense, but I figure I will still explain them just so I can say “I warned you” (I can be a real nazi stickler when I want things organized my way).

Facebook – I’ll use this for long messages to catch up with people, and to share things from my blog. But don’t expect me to check (much less respond) more than a couple of times a week.

WhatsApp – Most of you know that you can always find me here, and if I can’t respond right away, I will tell you. I have a German number, but that’s for my James Bond activities, so just message me at the same number that I have officially had half my life. How long will I keep it? Well, thanks to my good friend Severus Snap, you can probably expect us to have this conversation in a few years.

Instagram – I use this daily to share a lot of funny memes, images, videos, etc. But I will rarely engage with you for anything longer than a few messages.

Twitter – I’ve never had a really good reason to use Twitter honestly. And I never seem to get into it. But I do like how I can have the most multilingual experience from all platforms, so I will try it out more now. Also, apparently this is the platform for assholes to argue. And let’s face it, if you’ve ever argued with me, you know that those guys are in for a treat.

Aside from that, I have started writing more shorter articles on my Medium account (if you’re into that sort of thing), and of course LinkedIn will be for professional stuff.

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