Saturday, December 22, 2018

Social Media Detox

There have been times when I was a heavy social media user. I would log in to Facebook every morning and evening and make sure I did not miss a single post by anybody. After a while though, this went down to once a day. I also had a Twitter account but rarely used it except to post links to new blog posts. I also got myself an Instagram account.

The turning point came when I heard the Calm Masterclass on Social Media Addiction  That was when it struck me. I had become hooked to the likes and comments on my posts on Facebook. After I posted a simple picture, I would keep checking my Facebook for how many likes and comments I got. I would get a kick out of this attention. I then followed some advice given in that Masterclass. I removed all social media apps from my phone. I would check my social media accounts only when I was in front of my primary computer which is an iPad Pro. That helped reduce this problem significantly.

Recently, I posted a joke on Facebook about Yogi Adityanath renaming things. Within a few hours, two people picked up a fight with each other. The comments started getting personal and insulting of religions. That’s when I realised what a mess this had become. I decide to deactivate (not delete yet) my Facebook account. I thought it was not worth it. I had more than 2,700 ‘friends’. Honestly, I hadn’t met or even knew more than 75% of them. I kept accepting requests initially from every single person. Then I restricted this to people who at least had one common friend with me. But now, I just gave up. My account is currently inactive. I plan to delete it soon.

I also created a LinkedIn account a few years back. The only time I used it was when someone sent me a friend request. Not worth it, I thought. I deleted the account completely a couple of days ago.

I still have my Twitter and Instagram accounts. I am not hooked to these and I find the interaction here is very limited. I have much fewer people following me and I follow very few people. This is at least sane. Let’s see how this goes.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

If I were to pick my career again without any pressure or constraints...

When I was in school, around middle school maybe, the topic of career choices started being discussed. At home as well as among friends, the topic of what we wanted to be when we grew up would inevitably come up every once in a while. It was time to grow beyond the childhood fantasy of becoming the engine driver of a railway train.

Engineering and Medicine were the coolest professions. Those were what all the toppers took. Wanting to become a businessman was looked upon as an excuse for not wanting to study a whole lot. Careers involving the Arts were not even considered options worth discussing.

For me, it all boiled down to either Engineering or Medicine. I did not consider, even for a moment any other profession. Unfortunately, I started meditation all of forty years later. I did not even know what my inner self wanted. I wasn’t even aware of its existence. 

Now, I have the luxury of being able to travel back in time, albeit through words, trying to reflect and ask myself - if I were to choose again and there were no constraints, what profession would I pick?

One caveat here - if I had any inkling about my upcoming kidney disease, I would have picked medicine, nephrology precisely.

At that time, Medicine was ruled out. I hated Biology. Did I really like Engineering? What did I know about Engineering when I was not even fifteen? When I look back on those days, I really think I enjoyed English Literature and Indian History. I loved the way writers could transport you into another world simply by weaving a web of words. I was amazed at the rhythm poets would bring into their poems as if the words were made just for those lines. 

Indian History, where we covered India right from the times of the Indus Valley civilisation up to the rule of the Mughals was very fascinating. The stories of the various dynasties and how they ruled the country for centuries left a deep impression on my mind.

Even today, I love reading on these topics. However, I have added to the little exposure I got to these topics in school only informally over the years by reading articles and books on similar subjects.

I believe I would pick one of these areas if I was given a choice back in time minus constraints of finances, ‘cool quotient’ and reputation.