“It is strange how we hold on to the pieces of the past while we wait for our futures.” – Ally Condie
Nostalgia. It was something I heard grown-ups talk about a lot when I was a kid. I couldn’t grasp what it meant at the time, and I didn’t give much thought to it. As time has passed though, I find myself torn between active wool-gathering and passive longing for the past. I’m either making up grand futures in my mind, or I’m replaying moments that have already passed. Somehow I do get my things done, so that’s good, I guess.
While we’re still on the topic of nostalgia, I’d like to mention my ambivalence towards nostalgia. Nostalgia can be a powerful tool. On one hand, it can rescue us from moments of self-doubt and sadness. By replaying those key moments, we rediscover all the trials and tribulations we have successfully overcome in the past. It gives us the strength to face the current challenges; nostalgia reminds us that we have it in ourselves to beat those challenges. Continue reading “The Slippery Slope That Is Nostalgia”→
It is common knowledge that we do not exist solely in space but across time as well. This temporal existence is much closer to us than we would think. Physically we occupy space. But in our minds, we exist as a temporal slice of our actual whole. The process we call ‘thought’ exists in time and it deals with time; we have memories of events from the past and we have assumptions about how the future could turn out. Eric Frank Russell put it more succinctly than I ever could:
“Your body moves always in the present, the dividing line between the past and the future. But your mind is more free. It can think, and is in the present. It can remember, and at once is in the past. It can imagine, and at once is in the future, in its own choice of all the possible futures. Your mind can travel through time!”
While this temporal existence in itself does not cause us any stress, living in today’s world, in the present can be stressful indeed. There is so much work to be done, so many events to attend, so many people to meet and talk with, so many places to visit, books to read, movies to watch, podcasts to listen to and shows to binge on. If you are not moving ahead in every area of your life, you are essentially falling behind the curve. At least that is what popular culture tells us. We worship productivity tips, we cram in more and more tasks in our daily lives and keep charging ahead, if only not to be sidelined.
As the remains of what I ate lurched around in my stomach, I couldn’t help but wonder. Maybe this is how I finally die; cold, alone and with brutal irony.
So this happened, kind of. Travelling the world with no defining goal in mind is great. Travelling the world with a singular, all-encompassing objective isn’t better by any stretch, for sure. But if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right?
October saw me making two separate 400+ kilometre trips, in the span of two weeks. Over the course of these trips, I saw both extremes, interspersed with moments of glaring stupidity— entirely by me— as well as resourceful planning and moments of awe-inspiring ingenuity, mostly by my companions. For obvious reasons, that’s just how the cookie crumbles. Continue reading “The Right (And Wrong) Way To Travel”→
A Star Wars pun. So original, I know. Couldn’t resist. Please tolerate me.
When news about the discovery of a new exoplanet pops up, it is usually followed by massive speculation. Is it in the Goldilocks zone? Does it have a protective atmosphere? Is there water on the planet?
A solitary writer in a darkened room, staring hard at the empty sheet of paper in front of him, wishing his thoughts would fill the sheet already. Over him, death looms large, eagerly counting down the seconds, waiting to strike him dead.
This little rant might come off as entitled and insensitive, but I believe I’m talking for everyone when I address this issue. It’s something that affects a silent majority of us in the world. We remain silent and let it go on, not because we’re weak, but because we’re nice to others. And we have patience people can only dream of. You’ll find us everywhere, by the pool, in shopping malls, beside you on the subway, and most of us will be craning our necks down towards our phones.
The issue I’m talking about is, obviously, SMS-speak in text messages. Or to make myself clear, typng lyk dis. Why people do this has always been beyond me. Is the recipient not worth spending a bit more time on? What have you to gain from typing in shorthand? What do you exactly plan to do with the extra time you save from not typing out full words and sentences? Now granted, some might defend this behaviour and point out that most people type this way to be able to reply faster to the people they care about; they want to get their thoughts across that much faster. But to that, I retort, bullshit.
I will however concede that more than a decade ago, before there ever were smartphones and annoying Instagram Stories and fascist right-wing regimes in democratic countries, text messages were a precious resource. They had a 160-character limit and you had to pay by the number of texts you sent. Add to that the fact that most phones of that era had a numeric keypad. That is sufficient justification for SMS-speak. You had a character limit, which if crossed, cost you money and it was pretty difficult to type in the first place.
But guess what, times have changed. Text messages are cheap and plentiful and besides, who even uses texts when you have instant messengers galore? We now have mobile phones the size of our palms (sometimes two) and with more computing power than even the fastest supercomputers of the 80s. These phones have touch-sensitive glass screens with on-screen QWERTY keyboards that appear and disappear as we need them to. Now that I’ve stated the obvious, let’s look at what’s on offer.
You have a QWERTY keyboard at your disposal, multiple messaging platforms to communicate, with no limits on the number of characters or the type of media you can send. Except Twitter, maybe. Twitter is the like the weird kid in class. Stoic and laconic. And overrun with hate speech. So what’s your excuse for typing like it’s 2002? For me, the answer is clear. Laziness. In 2017, the only excuse you have for typing in SMS-speak, is pure, unadulterated laziness. I mean, think about your friend who texts you ‘K’. Is she/he an asshole? No, they’re pretty great in real life. And yet you find yourself rolling your eyes everytime someone texts you ‘K’. It’s just THREE more characters, why do you do this to us?
And yet, we strive, silently, without complaining, for a better future where people aren’t lazy assholes when it comes to typing, or a future where Elon Musk’s NeuraLink turns all of us into telepathic weirdos wizards, and there is no need for any of us to type and communicate. But until such a day comes, please be mindful of others and don’t reply with ‘K’. And type out full English words, like you were taught in school. I’ll be honest, I’m half expecting a comment with just ‘K’ in it.
If I haven’t put you to sleep yet with my incessant and dare I say, perfectly worded ramblings, please consider liking my Facebook page. You won’t find any wholesome memes, but you will find occasional updates and links to my posts. And bad jokes. Also, follow my blog on Bloglovin’.
What’s that I hear you asking? No motivation to write?
Not exactly. It’s just that when I do write, I have both the motivation and the inspiration to write. Right now, I’m incredibly motivated to write. Given a topic, I could probably tackle 500 words without a break. But as (bad) luck would have it, I’m all out of topics right now. I guess I could use the daily prompts, but the thing is, single word prompts aren’t exactly my style. I could never have imagined that my own words would come back to bite me in the ass.