Binge-eating, binge-drinking, binge-watching, binge-living.
We live in a society that values devotion. Whether that be devotion to a sport, to a job, to friends, or to family, people must have allegiances, connections and passions that help shape their identities. These passions are essential to our happiness and well-being, and with the increase in globalization and technology, we have more options and access to new areas of interest. However, with the human attention span falling now to an average of eight seconds (that goldfish in your room can pay attention better than you), our interests are now rapidly changing and evolving. Globalization and technology can be seen as the glass tank we are trapped in—invisible, sturdy, deceiving and constantly making us swim in circles.
Lots of options along with our value of devotion created the concept of “binging.” I have fallen into the binging trap many a time, whether it be at Thanksgiving when I ate half a pie in 10 minutes or my newfound obsession with “The Bachelor,” and I know I am not the only one who has stayed up late, glued to a screen, watching episode after episode. But lately I’ve realized that I’m not just binging on Netflix or sweets, I’m also binge-living.
Yes, I just made that term up. If I had to go all Merriam-Webster dictionary, I would say: binge-living, verb. Going through life impulsively and at a face-paced level where one can almost be doing anything to an excess. In other words, it’s like YOLO but less hashtagy.
The problem with binge-living is that by “overindulging” in trying to live and make the most out of such a short amount of time, you actually forget to appreciate the little things and the little acts. I’m a goldfish with a shorter-than-usual attention span that keeps focusing on what’s outside the tank instead of how clean the water I’m swimming in is. The idea of stopping and smelling the roses is not new, but I find that amidst trying to predict who will get the final rose, I forget that my binging goes beyond just a show.
Of course, binging does have its benefits in any situation. Indulging in shows, food and all that life has to offer brings us happiness. There are so many opportunities out in the world that it makes sense to want to experience the most things you can. These experiences create a variety of memories and help define who we are. In addition, devotion to activities, people and items grounds us and it is better to live life passionately and engrossed with what is around you, rather than distant and detached.
However, just because we want to experience a variety of things and try to do as much as possible, it does not mean that we have to let this binge mentality drive us. It is nice to just clear the mind and take a deep breathe, instead of impulsively making decisions and endlessly planning activities.
I still might stay up all night watching the newest show, or go to Safeway and buy my favorite Ben and Jerry’s flavor (The Tonight Dough if you wanted to know), but when it comes to binge-living, I’ll pass.