More and more I am finding people making a habit of putting sleep as a last priority. It seems so many of us are trying to fit as much activity in one day as possible. I suppose we believe that we can get more value out of a day by doing this. So we pack as much in as possible because over time and experience, we have learned that we can function on 5~6 hours of sleep a day.

I empathize with this mind set. Heck, I used to have this mindset.

Here is the problem: What do we mean by “function.” If by function, we mean that we can get up, walk around, socialize, and take care of our mundane daily tasks, eat and appear normal, then yes, we can do that. But unfortunately we are not functioning at full capacity this way. We are instead on “autopilot”, or what I like to call “Zombie Mode”. Unfortunately we ARE NOT getting much value out of our day like this, because neither our mind nor our bodies are able to reach their full ability, full potential. Our creative ability is handicapped, We can’t give our “all” in our exercises, and our problem solving skills are hampered.

Rather than having a 16 hour day of growth, we have an 18 hour day of the daily grind.

We are human beings. In order for us to function at full capacity we need 7-8 hours of sleep a day …. period. This is an unfortunate weakness of the species, but hey, it is what it is.

We should all be listening to our bodies. And similarly to what I said in a previous post: If you’re hungry, eat, If you’re tired, ….sleep.

Conduit Places

Ever since ….. as far back as I can remember, I have always had a fascination with conduit places; places that exist only as a means for people to transport from one place to another. I don’t completely know why I have this fascination exactly.

I speak of places like: hallways, highways, subways, train paths, even long stretches of road with few or no exits.

Partially the reason why I am fascinated with these places is because most people pay them no mind at all. The people in these places are either thinking about where they are going, or where they have been. Seldom are they mindful of their surroundings; and it shows on their faces. Always in a hurry too.

Not me (not all the time anyway). I like to observe my surroundings while I am in transit. I look at the details, I look at the people.

If I am in a hallway, I like to look at the pictures on the walls, the paint, molding, carpet. I look at these things because chances are, nobody else does.

If I am driving on a highway, I look at the forest surrounding it. I wonder how deep it goes, if there are any fascinating animals living in it. I look at the median between the the coming and going lanes and wonder “Who mows that grass? …. It doesn’t stay short on it’s own. The state must hire landscapers to do it. How come I never see anyone mowing it?”

If I am on the subway or train, I look around and think “Everyone is so silent. Look at all the stressed and depressed faces. Would it kill them if these people spoke to each other?” In the waiting area of the subway I look at the constructed surroundings. Benches, waste receptacles, pillars, tiled walls, map posters.  I wonder about the people who build and maintain these things. Are they appreciated? Do the people here even notice this wonderful facility provided for them? From the platform I recall looking down the tunnel once and noticed an old style discarded Dorito bag (vintage 80’s). After noting that the tunnels are never cleaned, I wondered what other ancient artifacts may be in the tunnel. A subway tunnel is a potential time capsule.

Another reason why I like conduit places so much is because nowhere else will you find a more diverse assortment of people gathered together. Our culture and interests determine our destination, but the means we use to get there are means we all share. Just think of all the new things people would learn, and new opportunities that would present themselves if people would communicate while they were in transit (speaking of public transportation). This is missed opportunity for unity.

I don’t know exactly why I am sharing this here. It’s a recent self realization that I wanted to share. But it IS worth mentioning that freeing the mind of clutter permits us to to be more mindful of our surroundings which can broaden our perspective.

Life Hack for Budget Cuts

A great way to make budget cuts is to consider the end result gain from every purchase we make; the real gain. Often times we discover that once we discard the mental charade of the means and instead focus on the ends, we can find much simpler (more affordable) ways to reach such ends.
Is it worth it to spend money on a concert? Is spending money to see then live any better than streaming them (live or not)? Is hearing them live any better than hearing them on our sound system?
I say YES, because the live experience and sound is wildly different.
Is it worth it to spend money to see a stand up comic live? Are they any more funny live than in streaming?
I say NO. The jokes are exactly the same on TV as live.
There is the energy of the crowd live to consider that adds something. But is that little extra something worth the price of admission? Perhaps not when we need to make budget cuts.
Often times what we are looking for is a service. The question is: What is the most cost efficient way to acquire that service.

The Bane of a Simple Life

Our Socio-Economical structure (here in the US) is designed to force a complex life upon us. Everything is set up for us to have things we don’t use, obligations we don’t want, ridiculous customs and traditions. And all of these things add no value to our lives; they just waste valuable time.

As an experienced Minimalist it becomes easy to keep our hoard manageable. Keeping our material possessions low is near thoughtless.

What DOES become an ongoing challenge is owning our own time while still maintaining an social life. This is why it is advisable to keep our social circle small, and heavily scrutinize who is in that circle. This is difficult to do as societal pressure would have us “befriend” every acquaintance we meet and adopt a myriad of social obligations that come with those new relationships. To not do so places a label on us as “mean”, “unfriendly”, or “recluse”.

Example: Social convention would have us befriending the parents of all our child’s friends. Lets say (conservatively) that our child has seven friends and that each of them has only one sibling. …….. That is fourteen child birthday parties we will be invited to every year. THAT’S A LOT, I don’t care who you are. Attending fourteen children birthday parties every year is wasted time, it adds no value. And you can’t just drop your child off at the party and go about your business (that’s rude). Truth be told, I am sure even our child is not getting much out of fourteen parties a year. And THAT is just friends …… don’t forget about extended family.

The above is just one example, but there are many social time-consuming conventions that come with having an active social life that we do purely out of obligation. To NOT do them is to be branded with a negative label. THAT is the bane of choosing a simple tailored life.

Truth is, I have no solution to this problem. People will brand us with labels, we just have to learn not to care. Maybe if there was a way to convey that it’s nothing personal; that we are comfortable with our social circle as it is. But nobody understands, because it’s all an ego game in American social culture.