On Media ConsumptionJune 15th, 2012
I’ve talked about having balance in your life before, but really there are so many dimensions to it that it’s worth re-examining. A few friends of mine are doing a no-carb diet (or as close to one as humanly possible) for two weeks, not as a long-term lifestyle but mostly to flush all the sugar out of their bodies and to just feel refreshed, rather than sluggish all the time. Now, the reason I bring this up, is because it’s not something that would be particularly rewarding or useful to everyone, similarly to me going cold turkey on video games for lent. Now, that’s not a perfect metaphor, carbs are probably a bit more vital to incorporate into your life than video games are strictly from a health standpoint, but if giving them up marks a serious, drastic change in your lifestyle, than the end result ends up being similar. Balance is hard to find just out of the blue. It takes a long time for you to rearrange your lifestyle in a way that allows you to juggle multiple social and professional obligations AS WELL as more than one leisure activity or hobby. It’s not easy, there aren’t that many hours in the day, especially if you want to get a reasonably healthy amount of sleep! So, sometimes you HAVE to cut out a big part of your lifestyle that you kindof take for granted, whether it’s a type of food, a hobby, or whatever, just to have time to take that initial step of incorporating new things. It’s usually going to be really hard and really uncomfortable, especially for the first few days, or first week, but we’re made to be adaptable. Eventually our minds and bodies will adjust, and we’ll figure out how to find a balance.
If you’re not really ready, or financially equipped, or good enough at cooking, to start diversifying what foods you eat, start with the media you consume. Now, obviously this varies widely from person to person. Some people, myself and several of my friends included, have video games as their primary or even exclusive leisure activity. Some people prefer to watch TV, others movies, some listen to podcasts while jogging, and others spend hours upon hours reading, whether it’s books, or the news, or what have you. Now, certainly there are people that read AND listen to podcasts, people that like video games AND movies, even people that do a little bit of everything. But I find that more often than not, people are fairly specialized in the media they consume. There are gamers, there are avid readers, there are people up to date on current events, and there are film buffs. There’s often more diversity in these people that we give them credit for, but it’s easier for us to label them with the thing they consume the most, bringing our own perceptions of that lifestyle along with it, and not really doing much more work in getting to know them as an individual, complex person.
Now, that’s an unfortunate result of us as observers placing those labels, but a lot of the time, the people being labeled ARE pretty darn exclusive in what they’re consuming, or at least it’s hard for them to really show that their interests are diverse in conversation. It just makes conversations simpler and less complicated for us to categorize people, and to fit ourselves into an understandable category too. But this is where the onus is on us (lol) to really put forth the effort to distinguish ourselves as unique in our interests and talents, and really find out what distinguishes others too. I mean, it’s great to find a community of gamers if you’re a gamer, or find other film buffs to nerd out with about whatever movies have been coming out recently, and I’m not saying that you shouldn’t seek connections that way. What I AM saying is that, if you branch out, find new hobbies and really figure out if they appeal to you as well as the things you’re already comfortable doing, you’ll open yourself up to a whole new world of creative outlets, and people to share them with! And it’ll really help you just get in touch with yourself to know all the diverse things that interest you, and to connect with people on the grounds of that weird, unique diversity.
So, if you find yourself playing lots of video games, maybe put them in storage for a week and find a book to really dive into! If your smartphone/iWhatever is filled with mostly audiobooks, find a few podcasts to subscribe to! Go cold turkey on your comfort media for a week or two and sample some new stuff, and you might find something that really compliments your tastes! That way when you re-incorporate your comfort food (going fully into the metaphor), you’ll have all sorts of new dishes and spices to compliment it with! Conveniently this applies to trying new foods literally, too. So go out and diversify! It’ll be good for you, and more often than not it will inspire people to diversify in their own lives as well! So it’s good for everybody! And everybody could use a little good.