Do people change or do we change?

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Looking through old photographs from my middle school years I wonder how much I’ve changed. As I look at old friends, I can’t help but feel like they’ve stayed the same. Yes, they have added years, instead of going to the movies, they go out to drink, but has anything really changed? Have I changed?

In those years I hadn’t traveled independently, moved away from home, or really gotten out to have the experiences that I feel have shaped who I am today. Still, looking at my friends, most of them are ultimately the same, just more adult-like.

I hadn’t even started photography, the thought of blogging hadn’t crossed my mind, these photos were taken on my 1.5mp phone camera, and I, well, still wore Hollister. Now I’ve completed a project where I took a picture everyday for a year, I’ve written each day for the last 335 days, I’ve spend months traveling around Europe, and one of my closest friends lives in Denmark.

Are we who we are because of what we’ve done or is it deeper than that? Will I remain the same underneath as I have been my entire life? My friends still act the same way as they did 10 years ago, am I the same way? Do people change or do we change?

335/365

31/31 Blogtober

 

Ever-changing looks

The images we have of ourselves are not concrete, they’re dynamic and change frequently. How we see ourselves depends on our mood, esteem, environment, and many other things. We like to think that we have one view of the world but, in fact, we have many.

Here’s an experiment for you: take a piece of blank paper and find a mirror. Draw yourself exactly as you see ‘you’. The picture is going to be for you only, so draw it as honest as you can. If you see a defect, draw it. If you see a curve, put it in your drawing. Then tomorrow, do the same exercise. When you’re finished, compare what you’ve drawn.

I guarantee that your pictures will look dramatically different. You may have longer eyebrows, a different expression, a longer face, wider cheeks. You don’t have a concrete view of yourself; it’s always changing.

334/365

30/31 Blogtober

Prioritizing

With the digital age, I think one of the most difficult things we have to do is prioritize. There’s so much information that we have access to and not enough time to view or process all of it. With subscriptions to Google Play Music or Spotify, you have access to millions of songs. No one has time to listen through all of that.

I think this generation, not unlike previous ones, has a difficulty with letting go. We add everyone on Facebook and never have to leave a friend behind. If someone moves, no problem, just follow them on Twitter. If you like a photographer, you could follow of their work.

However, when we follow so many people, we start to either lose time from our real lives or in our physical relationships with others. If you can keep track of your friends that you grew up with, do you have enough time to meet new people? Are we just attaching and never letting go?

I’m finding that I have to willingly sacrifice relationships with others and following many artists because I don’t grow from our contact. There’s just too many people, too much information, and not enough time to process all of it. Think about Facebook, we all have a friend who posts 4 times a day. The time that you spend viewing their content, you could be viewing something more valuable.

Perhaps a skill that we need to work on is prioritizing. Cut the excess and focus on what’s most important to you. At the moment I’m trimming down on Facebook and focusing on sites, like Flickr. It’s too easy to get absorbed into information that doesn’t benefit us. I could spend days scrolling through my Newsfeed… but what do I accomplish from that? That’s why we need to decide what’s most important and work down from there.

334/365

29/31 Blogtober

Change

It’s funny how we’re afraid of change. The most inevitable condition is change and we cannot escape it. Our lives will move in directions we cannot control and we will be forced to deal with the results. People move, friends leave, time passes, everything is eventually lost. However, it’s only through change that we experience new things. We need change to really experience life.

We need to marry the thought of change and growth in our minds because you cannot grow without changing. This means changing who you are, letting other people change, and going forward into the next part of your life. We have to grow, and therefore we have to change.

333/365

28/31 blogtober

Post-feelings

When I was in Mississippi I had an obsession with post-rock music. The instrumental, crazy, chaotic genre that mixes seemingly classical sounds with odd rhythms and static. A lot of it is almost pure static and sounds like a jet engine in a small theater. It’s not something that you necessarily listen to for enjoyment. I think it’s more to feel something.

My obsession with it came from how it induces feelings. The creators have the ability to pull you into an entire mood. It’s like watching a movie that changes how you feel. You watch a dark movie, you leave the theater with that feeling. When you listen to post-rock, there’s almost a deeper connection to it.

Here’s just one song to listen to. Close your eyes for just a few minutes and focus all of you attention on these sounds… this is what post-rock is:

332/365
27/31 blogtober

 

No more “Liking”!

A few months ago I wrote about my lack of satisfaction with Facebook. I felt that people weren’t communicating enough and that we were becoming a more passive society. So I took a two week hiatus to figure all of this out. I knew that social media was becoming lonely but I couldn’t narrow it down to why.

When I returned I had some insight. I declared that I wasn’t going to “like” anything from then on. I thought maybe social media was becoming lonely because we stopped having meaningful communication with one another. “Liking”, “favoriting”, “starring”, all remove meaning from how we talk. Actually, we don’t really talk anymore, we just “like”.

This isn’t to say that people don’t comment on my posts, it’s just annoying to get 20 or 30 likes but words. It’s easy in our society to just throw support out there. Clicking a button to “like” is incredibly easy and there isn’t a commitment. You can show support for a picture someone posted without having to write anything down.

That’s where the flaw is: by clicking the “like” button, we avoid actually interacting with one another. Every time I logged on Facebook, I would have a few notifications. After I clicked the status bar, it would show me that all of them were “likes”. There’s no way to respond to “likes”, there’s no conversation.

Maybe it’s only me, after all, I did move away from my friends, but I can’t help but feel like social media is supposed to be more about conversations. It’s about tossing an idea out there, like how a person is feeling or what’s going on, and then chiming in with friends about it. I don’t really care if my friends support me with “likes”, I just want to communicate in a different way.

So it’s been two months since I’ve “liked” anything on Facebook and I really do feel like I’ve solved part of the problem. When I find a status that I normally would have “liked”, I choose to comment on it. This helps start conversations and interaction. “Liking” doesn’t lead anywhere. It’s impossible to comment on everything that I was liking before, so if I don’t feel like commenting, I don’t feel the need to click “like” either. My contact with people is more meaningful because I don’t continuously click “like”.

While maybe this doesn’t mean anything to you, I want to issue you a challenge. It’s simple but it will take a little while to get used to. I challenge you to stop “liking” anything on Facebook for one week. Seven days isn’t a long commitment but it teaches you enough. Usually the first two days are difficult because it’s so simple to click “like” that you don’t even think about it. After that, it’s easy.

Instead I encourage you to comment to replace “liking”. It doesn’t have to be long or anything but just try it for one week. You’ll find that you start more conversations and have a better time on Facebook. After you complete this challenge, send me a message or write on my wall on Facebook, I’m curious to hear your thoughts!

Happy social media-ing and I wish you the best!

331/365

26/31 Blogtober

P.S. What’s with “liking” comments mid-conversation? I get it if you say something really funny or profound but why? I don’t understand… 0-0

Update

So I just wanted to write another update quickly. This past month I’ve been studying for an important exam at my job. It takes up most of my mental energy everyday and unfortunately has been bad for blogging. Today I spent about 5 hours studying and I’ll spend the same amount tomorrow.

There isn’t a date where I’ll be taking the test but I should have it completed by Thanksgiving. It’s incredibly important and comprehensive for maintaining my job. Fortunately when it’s completed I won’t have anymore tests for a few years.

What this means for the blog is that the rest of this 365 will be around the testing period. There probably won’t be many long posts again until December. There’s currently a long list on my door of posts that I want to make. They are all topics that I want to spend more time writing on and I’ll do so when I have more time.

I hope that you’ll stick around until then. I can’t wait to share what I’ve been doing for the past few months! On my desktop I have a post draft of my trip to Germany in 2012. It’s late but I wanted to share the pictures and story. Maybe that’ll be done by next weekend! Anyways, hope you are having a wonderful night!