the paradox of too much

Like a lot of people, I go through bursts of wanting to learn as much as I can and wanting to do nothing.

An unintended consequence of this was lengthy lists of bookmarked articles and courses to read, netflix shows to watch, music to listen to, books to get to, etc. These items seemed to grow, not shrink over time and left a weird sense of slight guilt that I couldn't get to them. Some bookmarks were 5-10 years old.

I've always been more of a minimalist then someone who clutters physical things. Digitally, it's even tougher to keep organized - probably because things are so cheap and abundant now. Here is every music album for $10 a month, here are 100s of shows, etc. In the physical world even if you wanted to collect everything, you would have space and financial restrictions.

I started pruning parts of my netflix list and bookmarks but it wasn't fast enough for my liking. I have settled on a personal rule to not have more then 5 items in my netflix list (over time this has usually been no more then 3). For my bookmarks, I've taken a time sensitive approach. As a prefix to each bookmark or category of bookmarks I write a date. On that date, if I have not gone through the material, I delete it. If I am interested in something and realize I will not have time to get to it, I have extended the deadline in advance. These instances in part have been due to poor/unreasonable "scheduling". I also have a permanent "current_work" folder which has no time limit.

After a couple months, I think the experiment has been a success. I feel better with these shorter lists. More focused, less obligated to get through material that I am going over just to complete it but have no desire to, and also more productive with my time.

my bookmark system

For years now this "problem" of seemingly infinite information and material has been compounding and accelerating. I think we need to take steps individually to get some sanity and control over it instead of letting it dictate our schedules and life.

The paradox of choice is very real but can be combated


Simplifying and finding more peace

Now that my book project is nearing completion (the new release date is August 29th) I will have time to get back to some other interests that have been on an extended backburner. One of the things that I really want to do is purge all the unnecessary and/or negative things from my life. This is both physical and mental and somewhat spiritual. I am not by any means a packrat and regularly get rid of unneeded physical items, so this part will be fairly easy. On another note, Tressa and I are actively looking for a house. While this means owning a large physical item, it is a necessity if we start a family (and also to own a large dog - something I have desired to do for years). I am also thinking that the increased privacy and reduced noise from where we currently live will help us to relax.

Mentally will be more difficult for me to purge. I have some musical lyrics and half-baked computer side projects that I know I'll never go back to. They've been sitting on a hard drive for years. I revisit these things sporadically, but I believe that just like physical items, it is good to do a mental purging of old ideas and notions from time to time. I'm going to permanently delete this stuff. It is good to not remind oneself of bad memories but to learn how to forgive and forget more. Starting afresh music and project wise will be great.

Timewise, I want to shape the path that I'd like to be on in my day to day living, rather than letting commitments dictate what I am limited to doing. I am looking to improve my health and enjoy nature more. These are all great "new year's resolution" types of ideas, but I do plan on adjusting myself. This simply has not been possible to correct my course the last six months as I have been overwhelmed with work.

Tressa and I are going on vacation starting next week. This is much needed, I will venture to say especially for me - I have not had a legitimate vacation in a long time. We are trying to get a last minute deal if we can (Cuba if possible) so do not know exactly where yet. We are also exercising more these days - getting started from all things a Wii game called Exerbeat which is tricking us into enjoying moving : ) . I'm looking forward to spending the summer with Tressa and hope to take a few weekends off which will be very nice and back to more of the work-life balance that I would like to achieve.


clear thinking

i've been able to think very clearly the last week, and had some really great problem solving ability at work and at leisure - getting back into some complex mathematics

not sure how long this will last, but it is a pleasant surprise


moving, purging, cleansing

moving: no one likes to do it (ok, sadists probably do). but it is a lot of work.

however, there are benefits - the time between jobs, between living arrangements, etc provides the time and change necessary to contemplate on one's past and evaluate how they have been living and what they want to obtain in their life and their future to have in store. it is a reflective time and also the act of packing and choosing what to no longer bring with one can be a sort of letting go with parts of the past that have been clung to or are hurtful.

it is also draining though - no matter how much or little one is looking forward to change, it takes something out of you.