Mario Villalobos

What Now?

  • Journal

Well, this has been a strange week. It wasn’t quite the one I wanted, but it’s the one I got, so I shouldn’t complain. I wanted to write more, but instead I felt like I was in this liminal state, at the threshold between who I was and who I could be. I wrote about this feeling a few weeks ago, but I felt like this week was the culmination of weeks and months of thinking and feeling through these thoughts and emotions, and I’m now getting started on something.

What that something is I don’t know, but I know it doesn’t involve social media, so that’s a plus. When I decided to quit last week, I wanted to quit the endless and torturous cycle of publishing something then checking for comments, or when I had analytics, checking those stats for hits and referrals and more hits, then when that didn’t satisfy me, I would re-check and see if I got any new comments, and if I did, great, dopamine hit satisfied, but if I didn’t, I would step away annoyed and try to replace that feeling with something else. Later, when I wanted to publish something new, this cycle would repeat itself, and I would again enter this viciousness that I didn’t like or enjoy. I wanted to save my time and energy for more productive pursuits, to write more, to read more, to photograph more, to create more, and… a week isn’t long enough to know how this is going, but I think it’s going okay, all things considered.

If anything, this week was simply a big reset. Like I wrote about in that declaratory post, I’ve grown used to not using social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, but that’s mostly because I replaced it with other social media platforms, like So not having anything felt strange. I really didn’t know what to do with myself. I kept doing my normal things, like journaling in the morning, studying Japanese, and starting a new book, but once I did my work, I had all this time still left unspent that I wasn’t sure what to do with. I found myself picking up my phone every time I felt unsure what to do next, but since I didn’t really have anything to check on my phone, I put it down and felt unfulfilled. I’ve grown used to picking up my phone and seeing if I had new notifications or new things to read in whatever feed I had let infest my life, but now that I didn’t have anything like that, I really didn’t know what to do with myself. I kept asking myself, What now?

These feelings lasted for days. I felt stuck in this loop of old patterns that took all my energy to break free from, the same energy I wanted to devote toward my more creative pursuits, the same pursuits that was the whole purpose of my declaration in the first place. But breaking old habits is tough, and I can still feel and hear the background static that years of bad habits have produced. I don’t know how much longer it’ll last, but I feel like I’m finally walking down the right path for myself.

On Friday, I felt the urge to blog again, so I wrote a few posts over in my Stream. It wasn’t much, but it was enough to wake me up again. I picked up my notebook again and started writing notes for a new novel that I want to start, something I haven’t done in about a year, maybe longer. These notes weren’t much, but they were more than I’ve done in a long time, so I consider that a win. I’m actually very excited to start this new book, and I don’t care who knows it.

When I turned a year older earlier this month, I wrote down what I wanted to do during the next five years. A five year plan. One of those things was to simply write a book I can be proud of. I’ve written a few books already, but I haven’t really been proud of them, not enough to send them off to people or publishers. They’ve felt unfinished, rushed, not my best work. So, I hope to simply write something I’m proud of. Not something that would sell, not something for other people to read, but something that I’m proud of. So that’s what I want to focus on. That’s how I want to live my life. And I feel like I’m now, finally, on that path.

I realize a week is too soon to really know for sure, but all I can do now is to keep walking and see what happens. So let’s see what happens.