Screenless Tuesday/ Thursday

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Hello, world!

The Problem

I have fallen into a trap. Since moving I have found myself watching way more TV shows and movies. I know I am not alone with this problem and most Americans are glued to  their screens. The average citizen spends 7.4 hours per day looking at some sort of screen. Some reports estimate as high as 11 hours per day.

 

Listen to the panda.

The Challenge

This leads me to my challenge.

I challenge you for the next 8 weeks that on either Tuesday or Thursday  you will not turn on a screen once you walk through your front door. (If you are ambitious why not both days?). That includes your computer, smartphone, television or any other passive device that I’m missing.

The Evidence

I am the evidence. I have been doing this consistently since mid February and have added on average 6 to 8 hours a week to activities that I enjoy. I have been able to read an additional 200-400 pages a week. I was scrolling through my Goodreads list and noted I have been reading a book a week. I have never done that before in my life!

With some of this extra time I have reached out to my friends (or older relatives) and actually have a phone conversation to hear their voice. (Occasionally a friend will want to Skype and I will do so because I am not passively ingesting garbage. I am engaging with a live person). I feel my relationships are much healthier then they have been in the past.

You don’t realize just how much time the screen eats up until you disconnect. I felt I was always rushing and had no time. There is time plenty of time to do the things you enjoy doing. You just have to make an effort.

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What to do now?

What are you going to do with all that extra time?

My recommendation are to use this time to be creative, deepen social connections or active hobbies. Here is a list of somethings: read, go do something outside, journal, craft, paint, playing a board game or possibly call a friend.

Just detach yourself for a few hours every week from the siren like pull of the screen. I promise you will see a change that you will like and want in your life.

Done!

Down in the comment section let me know your thoughts, if you will accept my challenge and possibly what you would do with an additional 6 to 8 hours a week.

Until next time,

Rey

 

Note:

*There will always be that 15% of people that cannot participate. If you are a student or work two jobs to stay afloat no pressure. However, you get back from life what you put into life. If you are a parent show your kids that there is more to  life than screens. If your a 20 something push through being tired because this will energize you given time.

**Yes, I am posting this on a Tuesday. I will now spend the next three hours reading :p

What’s the deal with Robinson Crusoe?

 

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Hello, world!

Last night I was reading I am Legend by Richard Matheson and there on page 83 was a reference to Robinson Crusoe. I set the book down as I tried to call up a mental list of the books that had referenced this literary classic since the start of 2016. A few that came to mind were Atonement, The Investigation, Menfreya in the Morning and a nagging feeling that I was missing one. (Those books are out of my hands meaning I cannot verify the reference at present).

The book Robinson Crusoe has been stranded on my bookshelf for almost three years. I have been reluctant to read this work because of my Postcolonial English class in senior year of college. As someone who loves to read, analyze text, and explore the larger context of a book that class left a sour taste in my mouth. That class did not stimulate me, the reading was all over the place, and I walked away with no more sense of what Postcolonial literature meant then when I had started.

One assignment was to read an excerpt from Robinson Crusoe and come to class prepared to talk about it. I did just that. I had ideas written down, sentences highlighted, and excitement in my heart. The class discussion was miserable as the professor only focused on one senior English major. That part would not have been so bad as I’ve seen favoritism before in classes, however, the pompous attitude of the student and the obscure literary devices were the issue. All that culminated in a way no one else could express their ideas because the professor would complain, embarrassing the person, that they weren’t at a high enough level (did I mention it was a beginners course?) and express her disappointment in this group (it was only week one). I should have abandoned ship, but I didn’t. That day forward the level had been elevated leaving everyone, even myself, on an island of mental despair.The only person even mildly enjoying themselves was the senior English Major.

Enough books have referenced Robinson Crusoe to the point where I think I will give it a go. It is an important work that gives a snapshot of a time of great inequality and “man against himself.” It is not the author’s fault that one professor could not sense the level of her class and poured most of her attention on one student.

In the comment section below let me know if you ever encountered a teacher that put you off of reading and how you dealt with it. Or put a link to any postcolonial articles you have found enlightening with your thoughts on the subject.

Until next time,

Rey

Scary Sunday

Hello, world!

Back in early February I did some mental cataloging of movies I have seen and noted an intentional avoidance of one genre in particular. In the last nine years I have avoided almost all offers for “scary” movies except for a few movies. (Cabin in The Woods, Grave Encounters I & II, The Shinning, and two other ones whose titles are escaping me). If narrowly escaping a “scary” movie was sport, say dodge ball, I’d be a champion. At first I was proud of this accomplishment and wondered why I couldn’t be this tactful in other areas of my life. The truth, like a parasite or poltergeist, started to sink its claws into me. Horror and thriller movies terrify me and I was letting this heart rate raising, squirm in your seat, play on your emotions, genre get away with murder. I was letting my irrational fears dictate what movies I wanted to watch.

If you know me personally then you know two things:

1) I will do the things I fear because I don’t want to limit myself. (That is within reason because I will not inject heroin into my eyeball while tight rope walking across a shark invested tank).

2) I try to expand myself in areas I notice I am limited in order to have more balanced experiences. (I noticed I had not read many translated works and am trying to read two or three this year).

By late February I had made up my mind to start watching one thriller or horror movie a week. I have committed myself to Sunday afternoon, when there is still plenty of daylight, for a false sense of security.

Here are the movies I have watched so far:

  • It Follows
  • Hellraiser
  • V/H/S
  • Leprechaun (I watched in honor of St. Patrick’s day and it is not scary)
  • 10 Cloverfield Lane

This upcoming Sunday I plan to watch the Exorcist. In the comment section below please feel free to recommend a scary movie or let me know fears you have tried to overcome.

Until next time,

Rey

March Madness

Hello world!

March was a busy, chaotic, frustrating month that I do not want to linger on. I will leave that month behind by saying I learned a few lessons about dynamics in families, honesty is not the best policy (it’s okay to tip toe around the truth occasionally), and continuing to make time for yourself because the world would gladly use it all up for its own whims. Now onto updates!

Reading

•As of Sunday I have read 14 books out of 20 books I challenged myself to read for my 2016.

•Currently I am reading I am Legend by Richard Matheson.

Movies

•I have watched roughly 70 movies so far this year. I feel less movie illiterate and I’d place myself on the scale of movie viewer at a kinder gardener level.

•I have started watching horrors/thrillers/etc. on Sunday. I call this Scary Sunday.

Writing

•I wrote profusely in my journal last month and worked on two short stories.

 

Until next time,

Rey

Writers write, right?

Hello, world!

It is going into week six in this new year and I am just now publishing my number one resolution. There are two reasons why I have not posted about my challenge until now. The first reason is fear. Fear can be a great motivator or paralyzing mental hiccup. The second reason is trying to find the intersection of what I want to do and what is practical. To rush into something and fail because of poor planning would be disheartening.

As you can read in the title I have chosen to write for my major New Year’s resolution. Listed below are the items I have come up with for this challenge. Once or twice a month I will write an update on how I am doing and what I have found useful. In doing this challenge I hope to answer a question I’ve had with me for a decade: am I a writer?

Goals:

  • Write 329 days this year for a minimum of 20 minutes
  • Word count of 100,000 words or 200 hours by the end of the year
  • Enter 1 to 3 writing contests
  • Win at NaNoWriMo

Bonus:

  • Find a writing buddy – CHECK
  • Join a writer’s group
  • Possibly do 1 or 2 write-a-thons
  • Reach 10,000 words per month

If you have any tips, resources, or a personal story about writing you would like to share please feel free to comment. I look forward to seeing what people have to say.

Until next time,

Rey

No More Books in 2016

Hello, world!

What do you get when you mix a book lover and a minimalist?

Me! (My original punchline was going to be “a paper weight.” Then I reminded myself this is why I am not a comedian. Haha!)

If you are a book lover like I am you have shelves full of books. You gaze at your bookshelf in utter joy of your collection and find it calming to reorganize your books. Every time you walk into a bookstore you know there will be a minimum of three books leaving with you. When someone is giving away books be it the grouchy neighbor or the free box outside the library you seize upon it with zeal. At every holiday you request books and, in a conflicted disappointment, you smile while accepting a $20 gift card to Penny’s or a label maker.*

At this point in my life I have over 200 books. When I moved to Arizona there was a limited to how much I could fit into my suitcase. The bulk of my books, at least 180, are in boxes with my family in California. During this move I realized the volume of books I owned went against what I have been working towards these last two years. In pursuing a minimalist life I have decreased my anxiety and increased my happiness. Books had been my blind spot. I don’t want to be weighed down** by objects or be the warden of books that should be free.

These are some of my ideas for letting go of my beloved clutter:

  1. This year buy no books. (This will be a challenge and I consider this my 5th New Year’s resolution).
  2. In 2020 have 100 books or less.
  3. Possibly buy an e-reader.
  4. Immediately upon finishing a book decide its fate (e.g. will it be given to a friend, brought to an used book store for credit, donated, etc.)
  5. Only keep the books you plan to reread in the next two years or have significance.
  6. When reading a book type up or take a picture of your favorite sentence(s) or thoughts.
  7. When purchasing a physical book pencil in when you bought it or if its sitting on your shelf what day it currently is.

These are my thoughts and feelings. I don’t expect everyone to understand. If you were to travel back in time and inform my high school self I would do this I’d think you were insane. Insane because “I could never give up my books” and “time travel can’t work, Police!”

Please leave your thoughts down below with how you feel about this topic or if you have any good ideas on downsizing one’s bookshelf.

Until next time,

Rey

 

*I did receive a label maker for my 18th birthday along with Slim Fast and a hat box.

**This is why I thought my punchline would be funny because books are made of paper and weight can understood as being a burden or an object when placed after the word paper. Comedy 101 is knowing if you have to explain something then it’s not funny.