Finding priorities


Everyday, while performing mundane tasks, such as doing the dishes, I open the YouTube App on my phone, and allow it it show me videos that it has learned to curate for me. For the most part, the app gets it right — US-based late-night political comedies and TED talks.

Today, this talk popped up in my feed: “How to gain control of your free time.” I had watched this video before, but because my hands were engaged (and because this is a great talk), I allowed the smartphone to remind me of how wasteful I have been of my time.

Time management expert Laura Vanderkam says that when people say they don’t have time for something, what they mean is, that it’s not their priority.

When something is a priority for us, we make time for it, no matter how busy our lives are.

I have experienced this first hand, several times. Including, as recently as, last month, when I got around to digitise my mother’s art, in time for her 60th birthday. My previous attempt was way back in 2015. And after four years, with enough motivation to drive me, I finally opened shop on Society6 (This announcement should, and will be, a separate post) .

Under virtual dust

At the end of last year, one of my regrets was not having maintained this blog much. Two posts in a year was a dismal number, considering that the previous year saw me celebrate my 300th post during the NaBloPoMo.

I have several unfinished drafts and ideas — some that are many years old, and some only in want of a ‘featured image’ to go live.

As this video reminds me, somewhat harshly, blogging isn’t my priority anymore. And that is an unhappy thought. Why did I stop doing that which I absolutely loved?

The answer: The decline in my writing on the blog has coincided with my use of Instagram.

Most of my blog posts go through multiple iterations, with me reading, and re-reading them, to make sure it is something worth reading. There is this burden of responsibility, to do justice to the reader’s time. On Instagram, however, there is lesser pressure to write.

I do realise that this pressure about ‘quality of writing’ is pretentious. Clearly, I blog for very selfish reasons.

Another reason, is the decline in community participation — or more appropriately, the narcissism factor. Back when WordPress had ‘featured posts’ on its homepage, and ran Weekly Photo Challenges, there seemed to be a greater incentive to post (read, greater likelihood of ‘likes’). Blogging was chance to discover, and be discovered. (The Discover tab on WordPress now is rather uninspiring)

I found Instagram to be more engaging. Words are less appealing than pictures. Those who couldn’t be bothered to read, are happy seeing pictures (and that includes me). Today, Instagram is what WordPress used to be — fun.

And so, since that NaBloPoMo in 2017, when I gingerly opened my Instagram account, writing has moved to another platform.

Finding a way back

Over the past two years there have been so many exciting things I should have written about here — in my safe space — but didn’t get around to. (I published on four different platforms, travelled to new places, let go of toxic relationships and put myself on a path to heal myself).

Most nights, I lay awake simply because there are so many ideas jumping in my head, waiting to explode (here’s why).

This, rather impulsive post, is my attempt at making a comeback to blogging. Will it succeed? Only time will tell.

The mocking mural


Have you ever felt like the universe is sending out messages to you? I ask because that’s what I’ve felt lately. Take for instance, this chain of events that have taken place over the past two days.

Yesterday, quite by accident, I came across a TED talk by Manoush Zomorodi, in which she explains the connection between boredom, or ‘spacing out’ and creativity. She conducted a challenge with her radio listeners, and asked them to switch off connectivity, and actually experience boredom. As she continued explaining, one of the things that struck to me was this:

Some of them (the people who took the challenge) told me that they didn’t recognize some of the emotions that they felt during challenge week, because, if you think about it, if you have never known life without connectivity, you may never have experienced boredom.

Watching the video, I couldn’t help feel smug. After all, I belong to the generation that grew up without affordable & accessible connectivity. I was also a very very reluctant social media user—mostly because of privacy concerns (I signed up for Instagram only last week!) I thought to myself, ‘we’d always find ways to remove the boredom from our lives through creative pursuits. What a pity, the youngsters of today have no idea what it was like, without phones and apps!’

In reality though, I was in denial. Over the past two days, Atul had chided me for looking at the phone constantly, checking my notifications, and not realising that there was tons of work to be done. (I’ve heard very similar rants from my parents too!) Okay, so maybe I was a bit caught up with this month-long challenge. “It’ll be different after November,” I had protested.

Today, I visited my Alma mater, Shaheed Bhagat Singh College, and saw these beautiful murals outside the cafeteria. As has been the case for quite some time, my friend Ankita and I took out our phones to take pictures.

Murals at Shaheed Bhagat Singh College
Fascinating and beautifully detailed murals by the students of Shaheed Bhagat Singh College

“So, are you going to post these to Facebook?” I asked her. “Oh, it’s not me, it’s you who’s going to be posting it!” she replied with a hint of mischief.

And that did it. With this chain of events coming together, the full effect of my denial towards my phone addiction, stood mocking at me.

Here’s a closer look at what I saw.

What was most ironical, was that my smug attitude about my immunity to social media addiction was clearly illustrated by the very generation of students whom I had pitied just yesterday.

I believe in signs, and when so many clues point in the same direction, it’s definitely a sign.

Here’s the full video of the TED Talk:

(If you’d rather read than watch, visit the TED transcript here)


This is post #25 in this year’s NaBloPoMo, or as Ra calls it Nano Poblano

NaBloPoMo = National Blog Posting Month = Thirty straight days of blogging


My social addictions:
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Why Blog?


writing
Power Of Words – Antonio Litterio CC-BY-SA-3.0

Some time back, I stumbled upon a video. And I liked it so much, I watched it again, and now I’m sharing it with you (for those who’re impatient, its at the bottom of the post!)

Elizabeth Gilbert, author of ‘Eat Pray Love’, talks about creativity as an external ‘genie’, and how creativity comes to an artist, instead of creativity coming from within an artist.

This video made me realise how many times an idea or thought came to me. My genie came in the form of little bursts of inspiration. And when she came, she gave me sleepless nights. At times I’ve woken up at unearthly hours* , unable to sleep, till I have written down something. And even afterwards, I have felt uneasy at not having published it. Sometimes I’m just too tired to listen to her, and I tell her to come another time. And of course she doesn’t.

This creati-genie has inspired quite a few posts on this blog. And clearly, right now, my genie is on vacation. Or perhaps I’m the one who isn’t sensing her.

Maybe she’s somewhere around me, reading this post. Maybe she’s screaming something, desperately trying to grab my attention. Or maybe she’s just smirking, enjoying the fact that I miss her.

Off late, as I haven’t been blogging, I’ve felt frustrated. Or perhaps my frustration is making me lose connection with my genie.

I’ve had to work hard on this post. It doesn’t help that I actually drove my genie away. But I shall try to answer the question The Daily Post asked bloggers.

Why do I blog?

There may not be just one single answer. And it is most likely a combination of several answers.

Perhaps it is the want of attention, the emotional high of being heard.

Perhaps it is to share our world with others.

Perhaps it is a journal, a memory bank, should we need to refresh our own memories.

Perhaps it is to vent out the frustration within.

Perhaps it is to discover a few things about our own selves.

Or perhaps it is to allow the genies sitting on the window-sill next to us, to take the spotlight for a while.

And maybe, just maybe, it is to sleep more peacefully at night.

I’d hoped to celebrate my 100th post with my genie. But, I suppose she deserves a little break!

I hope you like this TED Talk as much as I did. Is your genie with you? How has your genie helped/troubled you? Let me know in comments…

* unearthly hours here refers to what I term as unearthly – which is not necessarily beyond midnight, but likely at the hour when you are busy relishing your dinner!

And now I wonder… Why does WordPress Blog??