Archive for the ‘meaning’ Tag

Reorganizing my life

 

see lemons stay organized

anal packing (stop thinking dirty)

Random Observation/Comment #217: Lately, I’ve been going through a weird phase.  It seems I did a full year (2008 Japan trip – Almost end of 2009 Europe Trip) as a frequent blogger and social network user (yes, I realize the addiction). I tried exposing myself to an invisible audience to try something new, and in the process, found one of my all-time favorite hobbies.  The RSI and Ulnar tunnel syndrome in my wrists are not the biggest fans of my constant typing, but I absolutely love writing down my ideas and organizing my thoughts. This is why I have been writing a book.  It needs a lot of work, but I had a lot of fun reflecting on the story.  I guess it was just a part of my to-do list that I needed to get out of the way.  I will finish polishing it during my last trip in November before I start work.

 

I must have missed a phase of self-identity in my youth.  When I looked in my childhood room, I didn’t see anything particularly reminiscing.  It was clean with some scattered memories, but the walls were unfurnished and my hobbies apparently only involved video games and Legos.  I think I tried to make it look like a futuristic child’s bedroom with a messy shelf and unkempt bed.

I lived in Manhattan for 4 years where my apartment became a personal lair with a limited amount of space to keep organized.  The time I spent in Japan and Germany also involved a nomadic space that I temporarily furnished – there was no reason to bedazzle it when I would eventually need to take it down, right?

When I returned to that childhood room, however, it suddenly struck me: This is my own personal spot now and I can make it mine with hopes that it will never change.  Shouldn’t I feel a rush of relief and happiness when I see my old room when I visit again a few years down the road?  I’ve always expected a momentary rush of memories like they do in those movies and video games.

To better represent my space, I hung up old posters on my walls filled with trophies and random collections.  Memories from my trips were strewn throughout countertops to remind me of good times.  For some reason I rehearsed what I would tell someone if they ever entered my room and asked about certain objects.  I was fascinated by how much I could remember just by touching their surfaces.  It was as if I had one of those super powers from Heroes.

After fixing the desk, I looked in my wardrobe and tore everything out.  I refolded my clothes and laid them cleanly on my brother’s bed as if it were my only little fashion store.  The clothes in season were all laid in plain sight and the shrine for my jeans was perfection.  The colors matched nicely and the outfit permutations just raced through my mind.  I was satisfied and at peace.

From there, I looked at my desktop PC and laptop.  Even virtually, there was a mess of unorganized folders and downloads scattered on my main screen.  It took some time, but I redeveloped my naming conventions and optimized the depth of the folder tree with the number of children each folder possessed (data structure lingo).  Basically, at any given time, I want to be able to reach my file without going through too many folders, but being able to narrow down the file at a quick glance.  This would involve categories (as Windows makes with Pictures, Music, Video, and Documents), but to another level (which is the basic purpose of cascading folders).

When I was satisfied with document organization, I cleaned every program I never used and optimized everything I could think of.  I even reorganized my bookmarks, which had grown absolutely abhorrent in the past year.  Cascading folders once again filled the bookmarks and I synced it with Google (since I was using Chrome, it just saves in your Google Docs account).

Next, I reviewed the main websites I visited every day.  I used the RSS feed option to fill my Google Reader and made lists on my twitter to narrow down my desired content.  Instead of going to each webpage to see if updates were there, the updates came to me in one nice package.  These subscriptions increased my efficiencies and I don’t even need to go through the bookmarks anymore.  Streaming videos would queue in my “things to watch” list and website articles would fill the reader.

As time passed, however, I found that it was impossible to read everything.  It was then that I trimmed the fat and removed redundancies.  Do I really need 5 social networking sites? Do I really need 10 different websites for tech updates? Can I really watch all of the Hulu shows?  No one has enough time to just surf without specifically learning any skill set.  I wasn’t exactly reading the news to see how it affected market trends, nor did I read up on specific programming languages or contribute to open source projects.  I basically just looked at things that I thought was cool so I could perhaps bring it up in normal conversation – so maybe I’d have something to post as a status update, shared link, or tweet.

It occurred to me that I had become a consumer of content instead of a producer.  I sat there in front of my laptop just absorbing random interesting facts about the world (while staying entertained), but never really giving back to any community.  I wrote when it followed my daily schedule, but it was the selfish autobiographical nonsense and a ploy to cross off another line in my to-do list.  Even my pictures seemed to have fallen short when I had returned, which made me a little depressed.  I felt like I had organized my life, yet it was all done in a selfish manner.  I can always increase my efficiencies, but what good is that if I don’t use my extra time for an honorable purpose?

I felt that same golden arrow of consumerism I see in our economy.  Instead of trading money for materialistic things, we’re just trading time for random knowledge.  I must admit that if the majority content consumer did not exist, then there would be no use for the knowledge contributors.  Another supply and demand principle, yet I can’t help but think that this content is a different monster – it has many more dimensions of creativity and I believe that everyone can contribute in their own way.

It’s not so much that I have been procrastinating my work (although it is definitely a result) – I think I’ve just been distracted by the overwhelming amount of interesting work that others are producing.  It is this realization, however, that I find myself reborn (so to speak). I am more feverishly motivated to lay down my ground works while I still have the free time.  If I ever want to complete my long list of goals, which I will revamp and list in my next entry, I need to plan accordingly.  Reevaluation of goals – I hope others can follow suite; maybe not to publish to the world, but just to keep their compass pointing in the right direction.

~See Lemons Reorganize and Contribute

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Much More than a Rittersport Obsession

This is going to interfere with the weightloss project

This is going to interfere with the weightloss project

Random Observation/Comment #191: Contrary to popular belief, I am not obsessed with desserts or sweets in general. I have a sweet tooth (somewhere among the carnivorous ones and passion towards cherry tomatoes), but it had always been geared towards cheesecake, ice cream, and cookies.  This new project for Rittersport chocolate is not because of some endorsement they are paying me or any ploy to invite girls over to my room (although…).  The purpose goes deeper than merely trying every type of chocolate – it’s the overall completeness of an adventure.  It’s just a simple short term goal that brings me a great deal of pleasure for a relatively small price.  I would have spent the money on snacks elsewhere, but forcing myself to buy everything at once and record these findings just seems much more calculated.  I’m all about being spontaneous, but these side projects, no matter how calculated they may be, make life interesting.  I have so many on-going projects involving collections, but each of them don’t have an end date.  I will never try every restaurant in NYC or drink every beer in the world.  I’ll have a great opinion about each of these experiences for a small list of “top 10s” in each category, and yet I want something so much more.

Tackling a new flavor of chocolate for a particular brand brings me a level of accomplishment that a project will be completed.  Yes, this will hinder my goal of a six-pack – just as the beer and wine taste testing has – but this can easily be thwarted with some extra hard work.  This step towards making a reasonable schedule for this project had much more significance than I had initially intended.  It’s not just “Hey, wouldn’t it be cool if I try every flavor of chocolate from Rittersport?”  It’s “Hey, why not?”  I’m lucky enough to be half way around the world in a foreign country with new customs and particular quirks – don’t I have the obligation of living this to the fullest and showing it to my friends and family?  It’s part of the reason I started this blogging and twittering thing.  I just want to share, and the virtual communities have made it simple by giving me a car and building a highway.

Life is about hobbies and ways to spend your free time.  The money thing is sort of important to maintain the life styles and support some expensive hobbies, but what fun is a life filled with paying off debt?  What fun is life without the occasional pothole, aggressive drivers, and unbearable traffic jams?  Excess of these metaphorical obstacles could cause stress and frustration, but I think I would be pretty damn bored without a finish-line and some big fat guy in a suit blocking the way.  The truth is – I love the challenge and I love making small doses of controllable chaos.  It makes me feel productive and it makes success that much more rewarding.

Hopefully, a career will help feed the purpose of my hobby while not suffocating it with obligatory deadlines.  For example, my brother loves buying old 1990 BMWs, fixing them with his mechanic friends, driving them for a few months, and selling it for the profit that barelycovers the gas and insurance cost over time.  Obviously, it’s not the monetary gain after selling the car; it’s the priceless fun he had learning about how everything works and driving down a windy rode with the top down, listening to 80’s music.  And my brother’s career of designing roads just somehow nicely completes his story.  He’s dedicated to his work because his projects will be providing the essentials for millions of cars for the next 25 years.  After all, a car is pretty useless without well-designed roads connecting destinations.

Through these travels, I have searched for those stories that help me reflect on my own.  I’ve heard so many that make sense, and I’ve heard so many that seem just as lost (if not, more so) than I am.  It gives me comfort that we’re all looking for that purpose in each of our individual lives.  I guess the first step is to find what makes us happy.  Whether it be, drinking out with friends or playing video games in front of the computer, we shouldn’t conform to what everyone says is fun.  One thing is for sure: We are social creatures and happiness lies somewhere within our importance – being wanted, needed, and missed – within a community.  It is in this place where I find my home.

~See Lemons Continue Searching

I was trying to be creative with pictures...

I was trying to be creative with pictures...