How do you remember things?

I like to walk around the city 2 or 3 times a week and walk between 5 to 8 miles. I do it for exercise but also as an excuse to get out of the house. Often, these walks are paired with a good podcast or audiobook, but recently I started to try something new.

Last week during one of these walks, the podcast I was listening to ended, and I didn’t have anything else in my queue. I decided to just keep walking without listening to anything, and then something remarkable happened.

Out of nowhere, I started remembering things from when I was a child. It was me eating one of those unhealthy extra-sugary cereals and being very happy about it, holding one of my toys in one hand and a small spoon in the other. It looks me by surprise. I thought, why am I remembering this? Then I purposely started to dig into my memories more and more.

I was able to go as far back as kindergarten when I was at a table with two other kids playing with play dough. It was me with a happy face, opening a brand box of play dough with multiple colorful tubes of this fantastic product.

After several minutes of reliving memories from different stages of my life, I stopped and started thinking about how or what I can do to control my memories. For example, what if I tried hard and remembered all of the times I did something for the first time? The first time I drove a car by myself, my first kiss, my first day at school, my first job, first fight, first roller coaster, the first book, etc. I think you get the point.

What if I started to remember and write down all of these things? I don’t know about you, but this sounds very interesting to me, and I am currently in the process of doing it.

There you have it, that was something remarkable, and it resulted from not having something to listen to while walking. There is an excellent lesson to be learned there, and I am not going to attempt to know what that is, but something is inevitable; I will walk without listening to anything but my own thoughts, memories, and the sounds around me more often now.

What about you? What do you do to focus and remember specific things that might not come to mind often?

A note on boredom, anonymity, and declinism

It’s interesting to see how the amount of ennui in our society increases simultaneously as technology advances. We are doing something wrong. Technology and its rapid advancement can be not only distracting but dangerous. 

Is this contributing to the declinism of our society? I think it is, and my only advice is to be more empathetic and caring of others around you. 

The abundance of digital content, the accessibility of technology, the algorithms strictly designed to keep you connected and in rage, and the facility to consume more goods from our homes, digital and non-digital, it’s all part of it. 

We are becoming isolated creatures who are often policing others to see how they are behaving and ready to complain publicly if other people disagree with us.

Attacking and criticizing others is easier than ever; digital anonymity is at the root cause of this. Interestingly, those who identify themselves and dare to share their opinions publicly suffer from attacks of people who dislike what they say, destroying any opportunity of dialog and intelligent conversation.

It is boredom, online anonymity, misinformation, and many other things contributing to a civic and ethical decline. 

I’ve found myself lured into digital anger holes just by doom-scrolling on Twitter and other platforms. Even when I think I’m self-aware, it’s hard to push back and ignore the ignorant and the misinformation of pointless negativity, some of which comes from people who are just virtue signaling.

Slowing down is the best thing we can do, in my opinion. Before you reply to a critic, before responding to someone’s comment, take a minute and figure out if responding or commenting to something undeniably negative or ignorant is necessary. I think it is not.

Fighting misinformation, cynicism, and hate speech are necessary, but we can’t do it with more misinformation and cynicism of our own. We often fall under tribalism behavior, and it requires a large amount of patience and self-awareness to combat that. 

We don’t need to stop innovating to advance our technologies. However, we need to be wise and empathetic to those who are negatively affected by it. Hence, we should be aware of what’s happening and be willing to make changes, even when not in our favor, to ensure the technology and progress that comes with it benefit everyone equally.

At a personal level, I find it beneficial to be more present and empathetic to those around us, our family, our friends, the cashier at the store, the homeless around the corner, the people with who we disagree, etc. 

Just follow the Golden Rule:

One should never do something to others that one would regard as an injury to one’s own self

Mahābhārata 13.114.8

Are you an amateur, enthusiast, or a pro?

Many of us have hobbies, things that we enjoy doing but not necessarily spend a lot of time, money, or much effort. Some of us have other passions where we dedicate more time, more money, and a lot of effort; I think we can call ourselves enthusiasts on those topics.

Professionals are defined, I think, by the fact that they will get paid in exchange for the work they do. For example, a professional photographer is that person who gets paid to photograph products, people, homes, etc.

An amateur photographer will take photos, get a good camera, although not an expensive one, and probably won’t get too deep into the world of photography.

Now, and this is my opinion, an enthusiast photographer is that person who might be as skilled as a professional photographer but doesn’t yet do it for a living while still dedicating a fair amount of time to this task, and enough money to get a better camera, or cameras.

Who cares about this? I am not sure. I am writing this because I was thinking about my progression as a photographer, and while I don’t do it for a living, I spend a lot of resources on it.

This all came up when I decided to update my bio on Twitter and Instagram. I was about to type “amateur photographer” but changed it to “enthusiast photographer.” It fits better.

After all of these years, countless hours, trips, money spent on equipment, walks, etc., I think I have graduated from an amateur to an enthusiast. It also sounds better, right?