Consumption

It seems that everywhere we go we are faced with ads and marketing campaigns that are designed to do one thing, get us to make a purchase. This buy-in might be to visit a local lawyer if we’ve been injured, visit a local car dealership because they listen, donate to a cause because you care, or purchase a product to change your life. We live in a world that is built around you or I spending money after being advertised to. We are a generation of consumers.

Some are in constant search for the newest item that will make them appear smarter, trendier, and more tech savvy than others. Some build their self worth and esteem based off the brands the shop and use on a day to day basis, this practice can be freeing for many and depressing for some. Not only are we surrounded and influenced by the consumer culture we are built or broken by it at times.

For those who have extra funds to buy the premium products they are easily able to attain their desired status amongst their peers and are often early adopters of the latest fads and trends. For some their path to attain products to boost status can be lengthy and combined with a uphill battle as they attain the products later and they may attain them well after a newer iteration of the product arrives and others mat remind them of how “behind the times” the late purchaser might be.

As consumers, we need to be better at finding satisfaction with the products that we have. I mean do we really need the latest and greatest or will what we have do for another year or so? What does a new product in our hands really change about us? For many it is all about the self confidence and self esteem that comes along with the items, but this is not the case for everyone.

Finding happiness with what we have could pay off in the long run if we are willing to be okay with having things for a long time. It could allow us to be happier in the current moments we have and less focused on the fleeting moments ahead. As a consumer, you should remind yourself that things don’t define your actions and personality do.

Pass.

With this challenge, I have been looking for an excuse to skip a day of writing since I began writing a little bit each day. This challenge hasn’t been a terribly difficult one for me either. I just need a spark of inspiration and a small amount of self-control to complete the task. This self-control needed is a key element in me completing this self-assigned challenge. At times I can take up to an hour to type out my three hundred words all because I choose to get distracted by articles on my phone, dog and cat videos, and episodes of my favorite sitcom.

Distractions are one of my biggest weaknesses because I am so easily attracted to distractions. I have had the longest relationship with becoming distracted and veering away from completing tasks from childhood to now. It always seems like a lucrative opportunity to multitask and improve on my skills as a multitasker yet falls flat on the face every time I become distracted. When I allow my distractions to take the lead of my direction I fall short of reaching my desired goal or outcome without delay and often I fail to complete my desired tasks.

As this challenge has progressed I have worked to overcome my distractions better. To remain focused on my writing and accomplish my desired three hundred word outcome. This has been a hard thing for me to do yet as I have become better at it I have found myself more interested in learning new words and seeking a better way to relay a clear cut message that I hope will inspire others to live a better life. It would appear that at times I fail to do this as my writing can feel like a maze with no clear outcome desired.

One of my goals with this project is to become a better writer, a better storyteller, and a better marketer of my opinions in hopes that I will be able to attract a larger stage to share my stories on. This may not happen in a year but I’m committed to testing the waters and seeing where they lead me. Here’s to writing and finding a reason not to pass a day without writing a little better and learning a little more than I knew before.

Internet.

Try as I might tonight I cannot connect my laptop to connect to the internet at my house. I have been unable to connect to the internet on my computer for under ten minutes and have been annoyed with every minute of it. I have been constantly connected to the internet for the past seven years straight, minus a few days here and there but overall the internet has been my constant companion.

I am grateful for the connected world we live in. The internet has opened nearly endless possibilities for the masses to become connected and opened education opportunities wide open for people all over the world. From the poorest countries on earth to the richest we are connected and able to show one another what we do, and teach each other how to do things better. Historically, news of current events was delayed days, weeks, and months but today we are aware of current events within seconds of things happening and often we experience them live as live streaming is so easily available for us all.

We all live connected lives and often forget to disconnect from the digital connection and live in the moment. Life connected opens many doors, living a life connected to reality that is disconnected from the internet opens the mind. That sounds a bit too mindful for these little rants but it’s a real thought that I think more of us could take to heart. We need to be less connected to technology when we are driving, put our phones away and be present while driving. We need to be better at listening with our eyes and ears focused on the person speaking and less ready to click our thumbs back on the screens in our hands.

Living life in these moments is all we’ll really have to look back on. When you look back on life do you want to remember the high scores we had on those games we deleted on our phones or the great moments we shared with friends doing real things and interacting together in person.

Skate.

Tonight we rented Mid90s while we watched I was taken back to to the mid2000s(see what I did there.) to my days spent skating around various parts of Utah. Those days spent under the sun rolling around looking for the perfect spot to spend a few hours trying out old and new tricks, falling, succeeding, and spending time with my friends. We lived our best days learning new tricks and feeling the road beneath our boards, I’m grateful I spent most of my teenage years as a skateboarder.  

When I first started skating I talked my parents into picking me up a board from Walmart that had plastic wheels and trucks. I rolled around the sidewalk at our house and down the manger between the pen one and two at the farm. I rode that board about two weeks before I broke it and needed a new one, my parents told me I needed to ride better so I didn’t break any more skateboards. Little did we know that I would continue to learn new tricks and break more boards. One of my favorite setups was a shorty’s board with roses designed by Chad Muska that my Grandma purchased me. I loved that skateboard and loved my Grandma for gifting me such a cool gift when she thought skateboarding was for hooligans.

One of my favorite things about skating was the movement. The ability that my body had to flow with the board once I was able to “master” a trick or movement. I spent much of my time skating at a friends house where we built a box with rails and spent hours trying out new tricks and mastering the process. The feeling of the wind on your face as you rode, the connection you had each time you put your foot to the ground and pushed and the motion as you curved your board side to side while you rolled down the road. Skating was a movement that felt similar to near perfect balance to me.

Skating was a great teacher to me, it reinforced the idea of never giving up on your goals. As a skater, the only thing that came naturally to me was falling and I did that often. However, I kept trying to be better and slowly became better through trial and error. I ripped a few holes in my jeans, cracked my head open a few times, and bled from various scraped that happened as a result of my falls but I kept getting back on to skate some more. Skating solidified my understanding of never giving up.

These days I skate much less than I used to, but I still pull my skateboard out from time to time and see what tricks I can still land. I look back at those days with gratitude for those hours spent with friends skating around looking for the next big trick we would test out. For the cuts and bruises that were a result of going big or going home, and the triumph we felt when someone landed a big one. Skating was and still is one of the best ways to learn balance, test the limits, and create the best memories with friends.

Catch.

Relationships are just like a game of catch. They require interaction, cooperation, and a mutual understanding of where the “ball” needs to go. I’m not just talking about relationships between couples either, I’m talking about various types of friendships that require a little give and take at times, a few hard times, and a little forgiveness. Relationships vary between people, but the sentiment is the same we trust those who we have relationships with.

When people play catch there is plenty of back and forth between the participants at play. Each person involved needs to maintain awareness of what is coming their way and also be aware of what they are tossing out. Having knowledge about how far someone can throw and their catching abilities is key in knowing the pace at which the game of catch can be played. Yes, this is a metaphor, knowing your partner or friend is necessary for knowing what information your partner can take in at a given time and what their emotional state might be at any given time. What you know or don’t know can help or hurt your relationship, be attentive and aware of where you both stand.

In any game of catch, an effort is required by both parties playing. One person needs to be on target as they throw and the other needs to be aware of what is coming their way as they prepare to catch what is being sent their way. The effort needed by all parties involved in making the game enjoyable, successful, and continuous as long as both players stay involved and invested in the time together. When you are in any relationship or friendship put in the work, keep the ball moving, and your interest in the relationship at hand.

A game of catch played by at least two people working together to toss a ball back and forth.

Two players who are aware of the other person, their needs, abilities, and interests as they work together to catch and continue with whatever comes their way. People can drop the ball at times and adjustments are made to ensure the game is to go on if both parties are willing to continue. Be invested as you play and learn from one another as you go.

Classroom.

As a child I was not a fan of being in classrooms. As a student I found myself bored and uninterested in the subjects I was mandated to learn. I wouldn’t say that I was a terrible student, but I wasn’t invested in learning the information I was required to at that moment. I appreciated my teachers and the time they would invest in attempting to shape my young mind, but I have always wanted something different based off my interests at the time.

As an adult attending university at times have been an uphill battle for me because of that mindset. I struggled even in subjects I was interested in all because of the rigid structure that higher education requires students to conform to. I had to break my mindset of the avoidance and distaste for classrooms and what they meant to me. That process took me two years of university education and thousands of dollars. I still don’t enjoy classrooms at all, but I am now able to listen better and learn easier behind a desk while being lectured at.

Learning for me was something that was never limited to classrooms. I was always learning outside of school either at home from books or out with my parents. I was and still am a questioner, I always want to know the “why” behind things, I want to understand the process and the mechanics that make things happen. From paving roads to the law process questions have been a tool I’ve used to learn a little about a subject and pursue what I wanted to learn or drop what I haven’t

Self learners tend to be able to pick up a subject and guide themselves to a working knowledge than a mastey of a desired subject. Many of the self learners I know are in a constant state of educating themselves and are often either early adopters of trends or find themselves in a constant state of catch up trying to rejoin the industry they are involved in.

Classrooms can be the best proving grounds for some along their educational experiences. For others classrooms can be places that dam learning and hinder the progress of different individuals. Each of us learn differently so find the place you learn best and excel in your education.

Pronounce.

I think more people than me have experienced a moment when you are talking with someone and they get a confused look on their face then question/comment on the way that you pronounce a word. I happen to know that there are times when I poorly pronounce a few words from time to time. It’s always a funny experience for people when I say a few of these words and they aren’t certain if I am joking or if that is really how I speak.

One of the funniest words that I mispronounce is usually Popeyes. Yes, I’m talking about the chicken joint. I have surprised dozens of friends when I mispronounce Popeyes for Pope- eyes and for some reason, I am constantly relearning how to correctly pronounce the word then shortly falling back to my incorrect pronunciation of the word. There are times when I am genuinely embarrassed that I fall back to a poorly pronounced word and there are other times that I just don’t care and hope that my friends can forgive me for my poor words.

I think that is a slight metaphor for life at times. We each have weaknesses that we know are there and try to change or adjust to a better practice or way of doing things. There are times when we stand strong and hold to said new idea or habit and there are other times that we attempt the change then fail a few times and decide that reverting back to our previous behavior. There are times when we understand that we are as we are and will be just fine staying as we are. Others often may see our shortcomings yet decide to pursue our friendship and accept us as we are.

Life is a challenge at times, we can mispronounce words or have a few shortcomings but people will work with us if they are true friends and are willing to work with our differences. As we would hopefully do for them as we get to better know them.