Consumption and Me

It has been about 6 months since my last post, at least one about myself and what is going on with me. I haven’t been as productive as I would have liked to be. However, to be fair the first little while after graduation I was taking time off to do whatever I whimmed—a great luxury I admit. There was also a surreal haze after finishing school, it just didn’t feel real. At least at one point during my time in Edmonton I didn’t think I would finish my studies.

How I’ve been spending my time has not been optimal, but at the very least it was enjoyable. Yet the shadow of the future has been hanging over me. I think we are as much driven by hopes of the future as we are by short term concerns. I had hoped I would get into the Municipal Internship Program but that fell through. So what have I been doing with my freed up time? Mostly learning new things and skills.

This site itself is a product of my newfound and ongoing accumulated knowledge in what builds a website (namely HTML, CSS and currently javascript). It’s both fun and rewarding learning and mastering something new. I used to post on sites like Myspace, Tumblr—and so on, the advantage of doing it like this is I have absolute control over not just the content but everything else as well. I believe mastery is something that grant fulfillment, and I hope to follow that same principal with my education by getting a Masters degree someday soon.

I spent a lot of time fiddling around with the Linux operating system, an alternative to Windows and Apple. If I had to guess why, I think besides my joy of learning, I may be a bit of a control freak. With Linux there are no viruses for one thing, plus it allows for more customize-ability than Windows does (at least at the cost of $0 dollars). This is just one of many geeky things I have gotten into over the years, a sample of other things include: rooting my phone and loading a ROM onto it, loading up Rockbox on my music player, etc.

Generally while most people I know consume media like cat videos and comedy sketches on YouTube, I’ve been more selective. I try to stay away from the cultural fluff out there and consume with a discerning eye rather than conspicuously. I like educational and/or inspirational channels on YouTube like TED talks, Bigthink or IntelligenceSquared debates. I used to watch documentaries on Films for Action too, it should be a little obvious what kind of media consumer I am from these examples. It wasn’t always this way though, years ago I used to be into conspiracy theory stuff and I used to pay attention to people like Alex Jones from Info Wars. I have generally steered away from conspiracy theory since then, probably because I’ve become more of a critical thinker since then instead of a gullible guppy.

I have been thinking more about what I want in the future. I read a nice little book titled Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being. This work has made me reconsider what makes a person happy, something I’ve thought about on and off over the years since I started living on my own. That is a topic I will save for another post, but the book frames it through a framework meant to enable a person to—wait for it—flourish! The authors give it a mnemonic PERMA which is comprised of the following: Positive emotions, Engagement, Relations (of the positive type obviously), Meaning and Achievement. The details have basically informed me that I currently lack some of these aspects in my life and I hope to be taking some meaningful steps to remedy this.

This involves implementing another acronym I learned of, namely SMART goals. This is a framework for setting goals, the letters stand for: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. Of course this still means I will need some self-control and to force myself to focus.