2019 May
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Reclaiming Life

Ha Long Bay, Vietnam


I like birthdays and new year eves. They remind me to reflect on the ways I have been living. Though I should be thinking about my life more frequently, I am unnecessarily busy and distracted to be mindful. Hence I am glad that I am turning 39 tomorrow. I am using this opportunity for some introspection.

A quick glance at my life reveals that I need to be more productive. I need to read more, write more, and spend quality time with my family and friends. A deeper analysis of how I spend my time reveals that I spend considerable amount of time on my mobile phone reading news and watching YouTube videos. The challenge with YouTube is that Google tracks all my searches and recommends videos that are really hard not to watch. I was searching for sourdough starter on Amazon.com and my YouTube feed listed a video on sourdough recipe, searched for a lens and there was a video on its review on YouTube, looked up phone specifications and YouTube is pointing me to a channel of that phone brand. I can list several such examples. Carrying a phone that is connected to highspeed internet that knows me through my search history and emails is a perfect recipe for getting trapped by advertisements and YouTube videos.

Don’t get me wrong. I love my smartphone. It has made my life so much easier. The interface makes it easy to store new contacts, search for and message people. It is very easy to set recurring alarms, setup appointments on my calendar, search and listen to music, look up recipes, etc..Sadly, all of this has come to me at a cost. I am not present. I get sucked into my phone and lose time. Though I do not have any social media accounts, news websites and YouTube keep me sufficiently distracted. Capitalism is conspiring against me to take everything human in my life away from me and make money off of meas as result. However, I don’t want to give up. It is time to make a serious attempt to reclaim my life. There are ways to do so. Cal Newport’s book Deep Work helped me complete my dissertation last year. I have now been trying to implement the principles listed in his new book – Digital MinimalismREAD MORE