Retreating

It’s been a while since I wrote anything blog-related. Reports, essays and portfolios have been abundant in the mean time. That is also part of the reason why I haven’t been involved with my own blog much. Yet I noticed a bit of a change in my person as well that relates to it.

Where it came from, I can not say. Why it happened now, I do not know either. When exactly it first happened, I have not a clue about. All that I can say is that it did. I came to the realization that my blog is a hobby and that is all it has to be. Of course, getting comments and views is exciting but I steadily began to realize that I do not need those things. Those moments do not contribute to all-time happiness or success in life.

I think this also falls into the category of my shying away from most social media platforms. For over a year now, I have felt that platforms like Facebook have not contributed to my development at all. All it is nowadays is videos and pictures that people share. Rarely do I still see a nice post about what someone did that day. Everything is pictures of parties or festivals I attended. There are no words.

Instead of aimlessly scrolling through my feed, I have decided to read more. I do not need the social media at all. I look when I have a notification, yes, because often times it is a post that was made in a group that I am a part of for university-related reasons. So those keep me up-to-date on topics concerning my academics. Sometimes I message a teacher through Messenger to ask them a quick question but the extent of my use of the app has become minimal at best.

I know that it has become quite trendy to take days off from social media to diminish people’s dependency on it. The reason I want to retreat from it, however, is that I already lost most of my dependency. I’d rather spend my time reading, learning, writing, doing things I actually enjoy or otherwise being useful. Since I no longer look at my Facebook feed as much, it feels calmer. A notification on my phone is a lot more intriguing now as well. It is often a message from a friend on WhatsApp; something I value a lot more than another viral video.

Now that I am more in my own reality, engaging with other people has become more valuable. Visiting them or talking to them on WhatsApp now has more elements to them. There are topics to still talk about, rather than everyone just being involved with sharing their life (in the form of pictures) on the internet. Stories can that way stay fresh and conversations have reason.

In short, what I am trying to say is that my blog will remain in existence, but I will not be actively pursuing its success anymore. That does not take away that I enjoy it and that I do not value my readers (I do), I just wish to have it be less of an obligation. It has become just that.

So until next post, dear readers!

May destiny be kind to you.

PS: Less social media means less passwords to remember. Thus there are so many positive effects to this.

Standstill

This weekend I will be spending within the confines of my home and my schoolbooks. Starting Monday I will have another test week; the third one I experience at this course and this school. This module I had the usual language courses (English and Spanish) as well as bookkeeping, marketing and research. The latter was only a report. The first two both have exams and the middle one also had a report connected to it.

I worked together with a very kind girl from another class this time. We had another teammate but he quit halfway through so we were left with just the two of us. We finished our projects approximately a week before the deadline (today, 7th of April). On that note, we’ve been performing well however our grades remain to be seen.

So far, I have already received two grades this module. The first was for the listening part of my Spanish course. I scored 14/20. This is a good start, I’d say. The second grade is an A+ on English Business Communication. An actual grade by number is still unknown but my teacher said it was at least a 9 and I dearly hope it is a bit higher than that. On the written test coming up, I hope to earn another 9 so that would create a grand average for that subject.

I’m willing to say one thing about this course though. Besides the fact that it is extremely amusing and my knowledge has been greatly expanded, I have never worked this hard in my life… I notice that I need extremely large amounts of sleep. I have had multiple instances of oversleeping. I have had evenings that I laid down and my ‘good eye’ felt painful and irritated, which made it even harder to fall asleep. I plan to speak to a study counselor about the situation because it could harm my performance.

A good friend of mine admitted she thinks I work ‘too’ hard. She recognized the effects that it has might be an accurate representation of putting in too much effort. It’s upsetting to think I can’t do this at the same pace as ‘normal’ people can. I recognize that this is truly a path towards my dream so I am very determined to succeeding. Therefore it is troubling to think I might need to slow down. Even if it is the best step, I will find it hard to accept.

Slowing down would mean holding back on the pace I set towards my dreams. I have already looked at the specialization I want to take in my third year (International Sustainability Management) and that I wish to find an internship in Scandinavia; preferably Sweden or Norway. What exactly that internship will entail, I have not planned yet. I wish to speak to a teacher focused on organizing the internships to see what the school offers.

But sometimes, stopping and standing still can actually be the best way to go on, as contradictory as that may sound. I see that too. I have been someone to often advise friends to take a break so they can go on stronger afterwards. Now I might have to face the consequences of my own advice.

Regardless of what might happen, I hope that I will still be able to complete the course and that the people in my life will continue to support me, even if I cannot perform at a ‘normal’ pace. I plan to make these people proud, some day.

What exactly my aim was of this piece, I am not sure myself. I just wish to share what my life has been concerned with and the what wisdom that gave me. There is also the excuse that I do not write often enough anymore. I am trying to get back into it but that too, is at a standstill. Let us hope we make leaps and bounds on all of my paths soon.

May destiny be kind to you.

#GoGL

TW; politicsWhile sunlight was abundant, many of the citizens of my nation left their homes last week on the 15th to cast their vote for the Second Chamber. The Second Chamber can be compared to congress, roughly. There are a select amount of seats in the Chamber. Every party gains a certain percentage of the seats, depending on how much votes they earn in the national elections.

I spent the day in front of the news. I observed a commercial-free live broadcast of the current votes and other information. Many of the party leaders took time to speak to their party. These speeches were broadcast as well.

Now that all the votes have finally been tallied, we can see that the biggest party is definitely not the extremist party. Many journalists and other forms of media dub this the ‘Trump effect’. The people of the Netherlands saw that an extreme candidate will make such a mess of things and decided that they do not want that. Which is good!

I voted for GroenLinks (GreenLeft); the party that is mostly concerned about the environment but is also involved in making education available to everyone, including those who can not afford it too easily at this moment. As of yesterday, March 21st 2017, I am a member of GroenLinks. I will be contributing €10 a month from now on to their cause. I will also willingly campaign for them in another four years when we have new elections or sooner if the current coalition fails.

Coalitions need to be formed here. The biggest party has to add other parties to their coalition to gain a majority of the seats in the Chamber. If the parties an all agree to work together, they form a coalition and will be allowed to rule for the next four years. GL has 14 seats now. This isn’t even half of what the biggest party has but it is a record high in their entire history so there is hope!

Regardless of whether they will be asked to join or not, I have decided that I will start writing letters to the Chamber to ask them to consider our environment. I’m sure they are aware of the situation since my country has joined the Paris agreement but my country is doing worse than every other EU country. That’s quite shameful and I think our government should really be urged to step up their game on this. Unlike Trump, our elected government has shown that they are willing to listen to the people they represent. We have fired them before and are not afraid to do it again. They know this, luckily.

While March is drawing a close, spring is knocking on our door. Let’s hope that the increased amount of sunlight while shine through to our government too.

May destiny be kind to you!

#GoGL

Meanwhile, in Politics…

It has become a daily occurrence that the news broadcasts a ridiculous story about Mr. Trump. In my mind I often compare him to a toddler. He is going about his office and decides what things he doesn’t like. He complains about it and then attempts to throw it out the window. Coincidentally, everything Mr. Trump seeks to destroy is something I highly value.

In Trumpland

He is ridding science of their freedom of speech (censorship of scientific departments). Luckily however, science is fighting back. Rogue accounts have appeared all over Twitter to continue informing the public. Furthermore, scientists and supporters of science have banded together. The March for Science will be a nationwide (if not worldwide) attempt to force Trump to revoke his decision.

Mr. Trump is trying to fight terror. He does this by banning people who have nothing to do with terrorism at all. His so-called ‘Muslim ban’ inconveniences countless people from countries of which the majority are Muslim. It takes the minimum effort to know that Islam is not the same as ISIS. Muslims do not support ISIS. Also, the American President made up an ‘alternative fact’ about Sweden to attempt to gains support for his ban.

On the notice of alternative facts and the two decisions explained above, there is another noticeable problem. Misinformation is one thing the president himself excels at. It seems that he hopes the entire USA will follow in his footsteps by making up lies, changing factual numbers (that can be obtained through one Google search), obscuring reality, changing what people (including himself, most commonly) said and of course the detrimental state of the Department of Education. They too have managed to offend multiple people as well as continuing the stream of vague information.

The environment is something else I am very passionate about. I don’t speak of it often enough on my blog but it is something that is on my mind more often than not. Earth needs us to change. Change will have to be worldwide. If everyone changes their way but the USA does not, it will hardly make a difference. However this is what Mr. Trump seeks to do. He is eager to get rid of the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) and he wishes to pull out of the Paris Agreement; an agreement made by countless nations to minimize their greenhouse emissions. Then again, Mr. Trump is convinced that climate change is a hoax.

Something else worth mentioning is that Mr. Trump will get rid of Obamacare as soon as he can. We also know he is eager to build his infamous wall. He will tax Mexico’s products so he can afford this wall—all the while ignoring the fact that it will be the US citizens paying these taxes and not Mexico—to keep out the people who are helping him gain these taxes.

There are a lot of things wrong with this man and his decisions. These are but a few I have boiling at the moment. Before the elections, I did not wish to be one of the people to rant about this man’s visions although I had opinions a plenty. I wanted to see how he would play the game before making any written judgements. Hence; here is my post about it.

Meanwhile, in the Netherlands…

In my own country, we don’t have people of such extreme calibers. Yes, we have those who don’t agree with the open borders of the EU. Yes, we have people who want more individual freedom for investors. No one goes much further than that. No one is looking to censor, ban or otherwise inconvenience thousands of people.

On the contrary!

We have a party oriented towards the wellbeing of elder people. There is a party geared towards the protection of animals, as unbelievable as that might sound to most Americans. We have a party that is geared towards the average person; students and laborers. We have a party who focuses on maintaining the environment and expanding on green fuel. Of course we also have the parties geared towards lowering taxes and increasing infrastructure. There is a party who wants to close the border and separate from the EU.

In less than a month, everyone who has a Dutch nationality or a legal permit of residency may vote for the Second Chamber. The members of the First Chamber make laws and then send them to the Second Chamber. The Second Chamber may then approve or decline these rules. If one party earns 40% of all the votes after election day, they will have 40% of the seats in the Second Chamber (and no, there is no Electoral College to intervene). The party with the highest percentage of votes will have the head of their party be the prime-minister. This person is a figure-head, a spokesperson. They do not have power. They are but a symbol.

It is obvious that the Dutch government is a lot more diverse than America’s. We do not go by an all-or-nothing principle. This way—no matter who you vote for—your vote will matter. You could cause the difference in that extra percentage that your party earns and thus another seat. Therefore, the ideas the party supports have a bigger chance of being approved. Now isn’t that a delightful idea?

Here’s to hoping

I know Americans are more rooted in traditions. People have always voted Democrat/republican so they will do so again; regardless of the candidate. If anything, I hope that Trump’s extreme attitudes will lead to one thing; that the American people will open a newspaper, a book, a magazine or will turn on the news more often. I hope they will observe the goings-on and make decisions based on their own values and what they think is ethically correct. Here’s to hoping Trump’s terrible ways will lead to wonderful ways.

Through Reading

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Today (or rather yesterday since it’s already Saturday) I spent many hours scanning the internet to increase my stock of physical reading material. There is a ‘gap’ on my bookshelf, you see. I feel it needs to be filled.

I typed a few key words into the search bar of a website I enjoy browsing. I hoped to find new titles that I had not come across before. It began to don on me though; my appeal towards English books has drastically increased. In the past, I have commonly preferred English books if that was the original language. Nowadays I find my tolerance of Dutch writings declining even more. I feel that my education is to take partial responsibility for this yet it remains to be a peculiar change.

I ordered a total of five books. Three out of these five are English titles. One of the novels is about writing my preferred genre. I thought there would be no better way to learn than through the language I like to write in as well. The second novel was a fiction story I had read when I was younger. The final one was a language-oriented book. As I am doing in university at the moment too, I feel comfortable learning a new language from the English point.

English is a rich language. Therefore I think it can expand lushly into the new, foreign language. While in Dutch we have but one word for something, in English there is an abundance of words, phrases and expressions to lead to the same outcome. This means, to me, that the language has a more poetic allure to it. This is also why I prefer its embrace for my own words and stories. It is even commonly the voice of my thoughts. It has been that for well over a decade even before I started my education that is taught strictly in the English language.

Dutch can come across as a very professional language however. It gets to the point very quickly rather than hovering in empty space filled with poetry. This is likely a consequence of Dutch culture. The Dutch are very straightforward people. We enjoy getting to the point. We find it displeasing when people beat about the bush. The Dutch are often thought of as rude or blunt for speaking so openly. It is not seen likewise by fellow Dutch citizens. In our opinion, withholding the truth is rude instead.

Language is a powerful tool. That is why I aim to learn multiples. As I am increasing my understanding of the cultures from which the languages descend, I am starting to make connections. It is interesting to me. It reveals ‘aha’ moments for me and points to facts that I had never thought of before. When I was in high school, I had to analyze novels very intimately. In comparison to my current knowledge, the thoughts I had about the stories then was miniscule.

I am one who lives through the mind. I like to know and understand. It is a path to wisdom, I am willing to believe. That is why I have set myself on the path to understanding the world and its many languages; even if I can only learn but a handful of them. For through the understanding of a language, I can learn all that the natives of that language have uncovered in turn. It is a doorway to an enormous castle of renewed sources and I have found the key. All that is left for me to do is to turn it.

Ego Depletion

I can’t precisely recall when it first came to my attention; the subject of willpower. Science is always looking for answers and one answer it was seeking was the one to the question, “Is willpower limitless?” This question entails if people can persevere on willpower alone for unlimited amounts of time. It implies that willpower is infinite.

Yet various studies suggested that this is not the case. The first was carried out by Roy Baumeister who asked his subjects to eat either radishes or delicious, tempting cookies and then to complete a puzzle. After his experiments, many more followed. From the studies conducted, the scientists concluded that willpower is not limitless.

The drainage of willpower (dubbed ‘ego depletion’ by some) means that you will steadily grow fatigued if you have to use willpower to either resist things or push yourself to do things you do not like. I have personally noticed physical tiredness after a long day of activities that I did not fancy. It drained my willpower to remain dedicated to them and made me tired. There was no energy retrieved from this.

Staying motivated

Then what are we to do? We live in a society where human beings are pushed to follow certain obligations and hold certain responsibilities. These activities can be tedious and we may only commit to them if we push ourselves through willpower. Although willpower can be very powerful at the start, it can easily lose its ground.

It’s common for students to start out a schoolyear with a lot of motivation but as the schoolyear drags on, they lose a lot of this initial motivation. This is likely due to ego depletion. They are losing the willpower to study or do their homework and simply end up dragging themselves along and tiring themselves out.

broken_heart-svgAnother example comes from my personal life. Several years ago, I was in an honest and committed relationship with someone I held quite dear. There was not a shard of doubt in my mind that he felt the same about me as well. He would mention it to me now and then or he would make it obvious through other means.

At one point, I wanted to become a bit more serious with him and take certain steps towards that end. He seemed however reluctant for certain reasons. So it ended up being only me who kept trying and compromising. No matter how much one loves another, even here willpower to commit can run out. Therefore, persons that tell you they will be with you through sheer persistence might want to rethink their love declaration…

You could also think of a tedious project at a job or a paper that is due for a certain class. Towards the end, the person involved might become more tired and annoyed by the subject matter because they have run out of willpower and have hit a wall.

Retrieving ego

I know it all comes off a bit depressing now after all the sad stories, but I assure you that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Below I will mention a few tips on how you can restore ego and remain balanced.

  • Routine – While willpower can be depleted, routine is something that is hard to change once adopted. It takes only a month to incorporate a routine. If you want to walk a certain distance every day or exercise, you will need discipline to start out these changes. This discipline will drag you through the first month. Once this month passes, it will become easier to perform the tasks you want to complete.
  • Obtain balance – In order to cope with the activities you enjoy less, you need to perform actions that will grant you energy. Various professionals have stated that partaking in enjoyable activities has many positive effects. I’ll also tell you, as a former social work student that people dedicated to make you feel happy (social workers and psychologists) will always ask about what activities give you energy and will then suggest you do them more frequently. This subject too can be incorporated into a routine if you do not wish to overdo it. You can limit yourself by setting a certain timeframe.
  • Rewards – Consider rewarding yourself for jobs that you did well. For example, when I study, I tell myself to read a certain section and summarize it. If I complete this, I am allowed to eat a cookie/snack and drink something I enjoy (like chocolate milk).
  • Take time off – No one can continue running forever. Every human being needs a break now and then. Consider taking a day off in between your busy schedule to simple cater to your own needs and desires. On this day, you shouldn’t fret about life or its components. On this day, all you need to worry about is feeling comfortable where you are and with what you’re doing. This will greatly help replenish your ego.

In conclusion, you must try to find what resonates with you best. Some methods might be more effective for one person than for another. I am not very keen on routine so that is not something I’d consider.

Something I found helpful was getting other people involved. This is something I’ve done for a writing project. It’s a long story and though I like to write, it’s easy to get lost in the length of the project itself and the tediousness of rewriting (the less fun and less easy part). When I tell other people about what I am doing and get them interested, it motivates me more to actually write the story so I can present it to the curious eyes that are waiting.

What methods do you use to stay motivated?

Introverts

Are introverts antisocial? Are they shy? Do they dislike people? Are they quiet? These are often assumptions that people make about introverts. I am one and I am not any of those things. I’d like to take this chance to explain what introverts are actually like; both from my own experiences and pieces I found on external websites.

Extroverts, as we often see them, are people that go out and party. Then the introverts are always depicted as bookworms and/or loners. This is how movies make it look. They also often take a party boy and make him fall madly in love with an introvert; making some unlikely love possible. Charming… Honestly, the way movies make the two ‘types’ seem bothers me for two reasons. 1. A love based on opposites is less likely to succeed and 2. Introverts, if not both types, often get misrepresented.

Companionship

Every human being feels the need to belong. No human being is likely to choose for absolute solitude. Every human being likes companionship to some extent. Some of us (extroverts) like the company of big groups. The presence of a lot of people gives them happiness.

On the other hand, introverts too enjoy company. But introverts are more common to establish a few deep bonds with people rather than surrounding themselves with a large group of people. They also don’t need company as much as extroverts.

So introverts aren’t antisocial. If anything, they could have social anxiety. This is common for introverts. This does not mean they don’t want to be around people, it just means they have difficulty doing it.

Because introverts struggle a bit more with the pressures of large groups of people, many of them prefer the company of animals; especially cats. Dogs require them to go out and be around other people. Cats allow them to stay in their ‘safe spaces’ and just do their thing. I mentioned this before in my Cat Lady post.

Analyzing

Take a leap of faith? Just do it ‘just because’? Do things you never did before without really thinking about it? Ideas like these are called impulsiveness and are often associated with extroverts. Extroverts are usually considered to be bigger risk-takers and more adventurous.

While the extroverts are having a ball just doing whatever they feel like doing, the introverts sit and think about it. They analyze and strategize. What will be the consequences of doing this? How can I best achieve this? Introverts are planners.

Peer pressure, where a group will attempt to egg on an individual into doing something, could be problematic for an introvert. The group will say it is nice to do the particular thing but that might not be true for the introvert. That isn’t the introvert’s fault, either! It is about brain processes. Risky or impulsive acts give extroverts more satisfaction through the release of dopamine. The same activity will not have the same chemical outcome for the introvert.

Isn’t science fascinating, guys?

Utilizing strengths

Here’s a fun fact for you; introverts are commonly better at public speaking than extroverts. Why is this, you might ask? It is a combination of earlier named traits. Sure, extroverts might enjoy the company of the group, but there isn’t necessarily interaction. Introverts, although perhaps anxious, are better planners. Therefore, they will function better in such situations.

I’d like to take myself as an example. I am an introvert. I don’t build deep bonds with many people. There are just a few I let in. But at the same time, I enjoy doing presentations. Things like presentations also allow me to utilize all my creativity. Because introverts tend to think more and use their time on reading or other individual activities, they often come up with creative and new ideas. Many of my introverted friends are avid writers, painters or artists in some other way. I’d like to think I am too. The few compliments now and then that I get are pleasing.

Another reason why introverts might be creative minds could be to allow for an escape from expectations. Many situations nowadays call for close interaction with other people. School projects or work are often executed in teams nowadays. Teamwork is important but it can be difficult to achieve for people who like the comfort of their own company. To avoid the stress that these activities are causing, the introvert will try to express themselves.

I’m not sure if other introverts experience that. It works like that for me, anyways. The more stressed or upset I get with situations, the more creative I become. Counter-intuitive maybe, but true nonetheless.

Ambivert

Now, I’ve never been one to think of the world in a black-and-white pattern. So here I will present to you the ambivert; which is someone who takes traits from both the extrovert and the introvert. Do you have a lot of friends but still like to take a moment to yourself rather than go out to party? Do you analyze an adventure but still get a rush from it? Do you function well in a group as well as individually? You might be what is called an ambivert.

Of course, I’d like to remind everyone that in-between every extreme, there are grey areas. You could still be an extrovert but keep only a few close friends or be an introvert but like to go out.

Personally

I am not shy, I am not quiet. I am someone who will speak up in class when the teacher asks a question, given that the lesson I am attending is with my own class. I know them. They are familiar. Only then do I have the courage to speak up.

I can work in a group but I prefer to work on my own. I like to do presentations. I like to read school books and fiction. I have several friends whose company I enjoy. It just never has to be overly much or I will start to feel tired. I need my own time to write blogposts, stories, music and do all the things that I need to do to regenerate mentally and emotionally.

I like a party now and then and I will fully be present if I am around people I am familiar with. Otherwise I will enjoy it in the company of the people I actually do know. I am not unfriendly but I will have reservations with people I am not close to. Perhaps something like that makes me as black-and-white as the concept of ‘types’.

What do you think about introverts, extroverts and ambiverts?

The Journey to Success

For as long as I can remember, I’ve considered life to be a journey. That is, of course, since I was able to think logically, without involving the magical thinking of a child. Though that too, was part of the journey of my life. Every single happening and every encounter has been vital. That is what I believe.

I enjoy philosophy. I think about supposed coincidences and fate. What is the reason for living? I believe every person has their own, individualized purpose in life. Everyone is on their own path to meet their destiny. The roads of life are intricate. My path crosses those of others once, twice or multiple times. Perhaps we’ll walk together for a while. Though the labyrinth of our life is cloudy, I am convinced that nothing you do is without productivity.

I’m aware that many persons would attempt to convince me otherwise. They’d tell me that I need to be useful in society in order to be productive and to matter. In a sense, it is true. I see that too. To matter to others, you must be active in society and undertake activities. But to matter to oneself, this is not necessarily the case. I feel that your purpose is to pursue what makes you a better person in every way.

Now, I’m not claiming to be perfect or anything (I wouldn’t be here if I was) but I am saying that I’m trying to be better. I wish to be kinder to every person. I attempt not to judge others for their decisions and their lifestyles. I want to be more tolerant of things that bother me. I do my best to stay away from ‘bad’ things. I try to remain positive. And of course, I try to remind myself of these things. I too make mistakes, I acknowledge that. Mistakes aren’t always a bad thing, however. They become something negative when you fail to learn from them.

Of course, to become a better person like this, you need the presence of other people; a community to grow within. So of course, mattering in society is handy. But I feel that many people underestimate what it means to matter. I hear many people say that if you work or study, you are doing something ‘right’. If you are not doing one of these, you are just an excessive person. You don’t contribute. You are simply living off of funds that you did not earn and thus did not deserve. I’m not trying to raise sympathy for my own situation, but I am unable to understand that view.

Perhaps the following is worth remembering. Imagine a situation where an employer is looking to fill a position. Requirements for the position are someone with experience and understanding of the workplace. Then suppose there are two people that reply to the job opportunity. One is a person who has spent much of their time studying and working. They have developed understanding of the branch of employment that is offered. The person has positive references. The second person has spent a lot of their time pursuing their passions. They have chased their dreams and achieved unusual things. They do not have a long list of employments. But this person is rich in wisdom.

Personally, I’d say both are qualified candidates. The first is someone you can place in the office right away and they’ll do as they are told. The second one would require some schooling, but I feel they could be an asset too. Remember this; they are the type to chase their dreams. The fact that they applied for the job means they are willing and ready to go for it. I am also willing to make the wild guess that our dream chaser has built more character and general understanding due to his lifestyle.

Yet sadly, this isn’t how the economy thinks. Some day though, I hope society will learn and understand that there is more to life than having degrees and a list of employment.

Fear

American flag

Fear has always been a powerful tool in politics. The method has been used multiple times. After the incident of 9-11, Bush used the fear of the American people to win another election. He mentioned terrorism countless times in his speeches and promised to deal with it; thus earning votes.

Of course, you can’t blame people for being afraid of something. It is human nature to have fears. They allow us to decide what is safe and what isn’t. It’s a survival mechanism. Yet there is something more relevant that you can blame people for.

Their own ignorance.

People are being told 9-11 was disastrous—and it was—and that it had been executed by terrorists that were angry with the modern, western world. Sure, it makes sense. But that does not mean it is necessarily the truth. I wouldn’t be the first person to propose that it might have been a government conspiracy to create fear. The internet is full of such theories. I did my own research by reading what both parties had to say about it. After careful analysis, I’ve decided that I too, think it was a conspiracy.

The fear that such events create, can cause the people of entire nations to become submissive overnight. Governments, in the name of homeland security, will promote methods that supposedly protect the people. Various parties have proposed the use of microchips that would be implanted under a person’s skin. This chip would help track where they are and contain vital information that could be essential should something occur to the person that has such a chip. For example, it could notify medical attendants of certain allergies that the person has and will thus not use medicines based on such a substance.

All good and well, one would think. It seems like such a chip would help for the greater good. However, consider how such a chip would advance over time. It would become your identity. It would contain your personal information, your bank accessibility, your tracker and perhaps even more frightening things that I, at this moment, can not envision. The reason that I think this is frightening is because such advancements would leave you with no privacy. Yet the more chilling aspect to be considered is that authorities would be able to control you. If you misbehave or do anything displeasing, authorities—which, as mentioned before, supposedly keep you safe—can disable your access to your chip. That would mean you’d lose part of your identity and a lot of public access will be gone. You can no longer access your bank, travel or perhaps do other things. I find that terrifying…

My dear mother no longer uses various social media platforms because of her fear of this happening. She wants to remain out of the loop and I don’t blame her. Google is already using our information to track where we are and to display targeted ads. For now it is but for commercial purposes but you can imagine how much that could grow in a brief period of time; especially if another occurrence takes place that strikes fear into feeble hearts.

Though I understand my mother’s reaction, I don’t intend to wipe my footprints off the internet. I still have my Facebook that I use casually and of course the medium you are currently viewing will always remain. Neither do I think you, my reader, should panicking right away and deleting yourself everywhere online. That is not the answer. Instead, use the internet to your advantage. Be mindful of what you share on it and use it to educate yourself and share such knowledge. I am doing the same. This does not mean you can’t be afraid, it simply means that you can understand your fears more thoroughly. I believe they say that the more you know about your fears, the less frightening it will become. I can’t guarantee that you won’t be afraid of ISIS or such, but you will be more aware.

Protect yourself, educate yourself, grow.

A Social Media Rant

Modern societies are driven by technology. We do not simply use it, we rely on it completely. Many persons are plastered to their phones as if it were connected to their person. We use the internet to keep up with other people, to take care of finances and to gather information. It is a source of many things and a tool for others. The technology we use needs to be powered. We give this responsibility to third parties that we pay for their services. We rely on these things nowadays and I myself can’t honestly see that changing any time soon.

Currently, I can’t say if it is good or bad. The reliance on phones and other such shiny things could be a problem if they ever stopped working. There are also those that blame these devices for a lack of social interaction. I want to give my own response to that, but I am too young to know the two different experiences.

Yet there is also an upside to our reliance on social media and collective, public sources. In this way, we can become a system. Our collective knowledge helps us to help one another, in which way we can strengthen our own system. For example, I know little about what to do when my laptop shows me an error message. A quick Google search however, will tell me what it means and what to do. This information I obtained online; from a person that placed it there. They had the knowledge of this problem and made it public for those that needed it. Generous, I think.

The main concern I have with the modern world (besides its wars and other problems) is that I find there is often too much information. Everything is happening at once. You can’t possibly keep track of but one thing at once. Televisions throw commercials at you, Facebook contains posts from everyone about anything, ads for products and links to external places that I’ve never even heard of. The radio is no different. Besides that, nearly every ad or commercial tells you to visit their website for more information. There is no way to avoid this, if you want to remain updated on current events.

Our brains become overly stimulated. Because of that, I do not think it is surprising that many persons in our societies suffer from psychological illnesses such as anxiety or depression. They are attempting to handle life while also attempting to keep up with the presentations of media. What of the expectations this media presents to us? What of our knowledge of the world’s poverty and wellbeing does it present? Quite a bit. That is likely to affect us.

Young people, more than ever, suffer from psychological problems. Many studies have proven this. Stress levels are high. We need to achieve, we need to have a job, a social life, an online life, we need to have fun, be fun and we need to be able to balance all of this somehow. That is the idea that media gives us. It’s pressure.

To me, it’s more often discouraging than encouraging. I lose focus upon one task because so much else is being thrown at me. My concentration falters. The tasks I need to do will not receive the attention and care that they deserve. It also discourages my creative side. Inspiration falters or the motivation to actually use the inspiration drains or is not there at all. Why do this? I can’t measure up to everyone else out there.

I consciously know that this is a delusion though. I remind myself that the internet gives us an image that is not necessarily true but it is easy to become lost in the pool of information presented. It is easy to forget that it is fake when it presents itself to you every day. They say that if you are being told something repeatedly, you will believe it. That is exactly what our social media does, too.

Is there something we can do? I don’t think it’s time to throw away your phone and shut down all your social media. Instead, I think a person needs to keep reminding themselves to shut it off once in a while. Before I wrote this article, I had Facebook shouting at me and the television was making noise as commercials passed. I closed my browser and turned off the television before the inspiration faltered.

Another note before I finalize this piece; though I mentioned social media can raise stress levels and cause anxiety and depression, I do not blame it completely. I know that it wouldn’t be right to do so. People with these illnesses have often been worn down until they break and start to show these symptoms. To them I’d like to say that I believe in their strength and that I know they can win against their illnesses. I know my blog is also social media and that it might also influence these people, but I want only one thing for them; encouragement to overcome it and inspiration to do so. Don’t let it dissolve. Social media is a trend. Life is a moment. Everything comes and ends. This too shall pass.