Tag Archive: life’


Time Perception

This morning saw the end of Daylight Savings time, meaning we set our clocks back an hour. Naturally, to accustom myself to the change, instead of going to bed at my bedtime, I stayed up an hour. By one in the morning, I was pretty tired, but getting to sleep in all this morning was lovely. Quite lovely.

This evening, I’ve stayed up to my customary midnight, which would normally be one o’clock previous to today. However, it doesn’t feel like one in the morning to me. It feels like midnight. Even though I’ve been going to bed at the same time each night for months, going to bed an hour later feels exactly the same as long as we call it the same.

This is pretty interesting to me, considering I’m obsessed with knowing what time it is. Whenever I wake up in the middle of the night, I roll over to see what time it is. Whenever I’m in class, I have to know what time it is. Whenever I leave to go somewhere, eat food, watch a movie, do my homework… I have to know what time it is. The arbitrary symbols that represent what time it is for me have a profound effect on the way I live my life, on the way society has lived their lives.

I can claim this because I know what it feels like to live without knowing exactly what time it is every second of the day. My family is pretty big into camping. Though our way certainly isn’t the only right way to camp, we consider it the ultimate way to camp. We go four or five times a year to the same two or three spots, like clockwork. When we go, we lock our cellphones in drawers and bags, we don’t wear watches (they just get in the way, in my opinion), and we don’t even think about the outside world for at least four days, maybe more (except when we argue politics around the campfire).

While we’re camping, I go to bed earlier, I wake up earlier, and we don’t eat at regular times. While we’re out there, amongst people that I admire and adore, it seems very timeless to me. I don’t compartmentalize my days or hours, I just do what I feel like doing. I feel free.

Research shows that with the invention of electric lights, people started going to bed and waking up at later times. This is obvious because you could work and do stuff much later into the evening. Your day didn’t depend on how many hours of daylight there were.

Just to sum things up, the perception of time affects the way that life happens and that’s an interesting enough concept to bring me out of hiatus. Speaking of which, I haven’t posted for a while because math homework consistently gets the better of me. I’m getting back into the habit of writing, though, with the start of NaNoWriMo 2013. I’m not writing a novel, but I am blogging and writing articles as well as writing my thoughts down in a very fancy schmansy Word document that no one gets to read EVER.

Toodles.

The Elegance of the Hedgehog

ImageI haven’t done a book review in a long time. I remember swearing that I was going to do more of them, but then I didn’t. In any case, I want to do one now for no particular reason.

This book came into my possession by interesting means. I first heard of this book from a psychoanalyst (psychiatrist to you primitives). This particular guy was a very interesting guy and he made a distinct impression on me. Though he didn’t cure me of my anxiety, he did have a lot to say about literature. His favorite book to talk about was Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky, which I actually got to read a few months later in my AP Literature class. It is also now one of my favorite books. Ever. It really is fantastic, though my classmates will tell you otherwise.

This book, however, was another book he spoke about once. I’m pretty sure that, at the time, he couldn’t remember the title of the book, but he described the plot of the book to me, which I thought sounded pretty interesting, for the purposes of the conversation we were having at that point.

Around four months later, I stopped going to therapy and continued on with my happy little life. This was around the time when my friend Leslie and I started hanging out a lot after school. Up to this point in our friendship, we were simply far too lazy to “hang out”, but now we had devised a master plan for Halloween costumes and did a lot of running about in order to make it happen. One of the things we started doing frequently, was shopping at the local DI (Deseret Industries), where the used books were only fifty cents to a few dollars and usually had plenty of the books that we were looking for. Within the next year, my personal library increased in size by a factor of around four or five. In short, I obtained two new bookshelves for my bedroom and finally had enough books to organize them into some sort of order.

One day, Leslie and I were preparing for college. We cleaned the room that her grandparents are going to let us live in, we built our fantastically stylish bunk beds, and we mapped out where we were going to cram all our stuff (books). By way of reward, we treated ourselves with a trip to DI. As always, we made our way to the back corner that housed the books and began methodically sorting through the books to see if they had any that we wanted. I was going along a shelf when I reached a book entitled, “The Portable Therapist.” Because of the general attitude that my social circle has toward therapy, I picked it up to look at it, bemused. Putting it back, I saw the book pictured above.

Not knowing the title of this book in relation to the story line, I picked it up, mostly because I like hedgehogs. They’re adorable. Reading the description of the book’s plot, I quickly realized that this was the book that my therapist had been speaking of all that time ago. I looked back down at The Portable Therapist and laughed at the coincidence. Then I bought both books, of course, to commemorate the occasion.

Having just read it, I understand perfectly why my therapist would like this book. I’m something of an intellectual, yet half of the words in the book were words that I wasn’t familiar with. Not to mention the syntax was so complicated that I even had to re-read sentences. It was also incredible in that the main characters were constantly obsessing about grammar. Anyone who feels so strongly about grammar has a place in my heart.

Another thing about this book made an impression on me. That thing was the fact that, throughout the whole book, the main character (a little girl) was planning her own death. She gave very well-thought-out reasons for her suicide and was very convinced that her course was the right one. However, throughout every one of her arguments, I was constantly disagreeing. This isn’t a specifically individual reaction, but it was important to me. My state of mental health has never been…. ideal. I was in therapy, you can make your own inferences. It was just important to me because it assured me of my own will to live. I’m not suicidal. I never thought I was, but something about knowing for sure is strangely comforting.

Anyway, this book is a spectacular read, if you can keep up with the advanced writing. It’s a very nice “meaning of life” book, if you’re into that sort of thing.

Goal-Setting

Up until I passed my 100th post, every time I posted, there would be a little line telling me how many posts I had and giving me a small goal to reach, but after I passed 100, it stopped giving me goals to reach and then rewarding me when I reached them. I found this very annoying until it stopped. Now I am disappointed that I don’t have a goal to work toward.

I’m not really one for making goals because I don’t really care about them and I find them ridiculous. I know people that need to have goals to accomplish or else they don’t feel like they’re doing anything productive, whereas I feel productive when I do anything at all. I know that it’s important to set goals so that they motivate you to reach them, but I don’t feel like we should decide what the line is that we can reach to feel good about ourselves. Life seems like it would be so much more than just a bazillion different little lines or marks that we need to pass, like the mile markers on roads.

Our family went on a trip to California last summer. We drove all the way from Utah. I’m not sure how many miles that is, but it took us ten hours(ish) to get there. The entire time we were driving, I was either sleeping or watching the mile markers. Mile markers fascinate me, for some reason, especially the ones that we saw on our trip, seeing as the little markers look different depending on what state you’re in. In California, the mile markers didn’t just have the number of the mile you were at, they had a whole bunch of things on the sign (also, they were white with black writing instead of green with white writing, like they are in Utah). It took me a week of staring at them with hypnotic fascination to figure out that they stated the mile, the highway/name of the road, and the county that you were driving in.

The point is that my father kept giving us the number of miles to where we were going, seeing as he had no idea how long it would take us to get there, so I kept staring at the signs, keeping track of how many miles we had gone so that I would know when we would arrive. This probably kept me from seeing a lot of things on our trip. I’m sure there were cool things to see, but I missed them because I was staring at the same part of the side of the road, waiting for the next mile marker. I do this whenever we drive anywhere. I like knowing how many miles we’ve gone. This is where I tie the story in with what I was talking about:

Little goals can sometimes be like mile markers. If we keep obsessing over them, we’re going to miss some stuff. Now that I think about it, little goals are also like pennies. Maybe they are more like pennies than mile markers. When I walk down the hallway at school, I keep my eyes glued to the ground, number one, so that I don’t fall over, and number two, so that if I see any stray coins, I can snatch them up. It’s rewarding (sort of), but if I actually payed (is it payed or paid? I’m never sure…) attention to what was going on around me, I may get to see people and wave at them or talk to them or something else.

I’m not saying that people shouldn’t have goals, I’m just saying that people shouldn’t obsess about goals. They also shouldn’t be so obsessive about productivity. You can contribute to people’s lives even if you aren’t being productive.

For example, during the month of November (and occasionally during the months of June and August), I write a novel as part of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). I set specific goals (big and small) and then I make a detailed plan of everything I do to make sure that I finish the novel in the time I am allotted and to make sure that my story-line isn’t just one big plot hole. Fortunately, after November is over, I have written a novel that I’m usually quite proud of (at least for a while until I realize how horrible it is). Unfortunately, I’ve fallen behind on my school work or I have neglected some other aspect of my life (There aren’t really all that many aspects in my life, but whatever).

It’s nice to feel like I’m being productive and writing a novel is SUPER fun, but afterwards I’m glad I’m not in the middle of NaNoWriMo because it’s stressful and I am particularly prone to stress. People are always wondering why their lives are so stressful, but it’s really not all that hard to figure out. People think that getting organized will help with the stress (and it may very well do that), but a better way to decrease stress is to stop doing so much stuff. Stop setting such horrific goals, stop worrying so much about how far you’ve come and start enjoying where you’re going.

Unless, of course, you don’t like where you’re going, then that’s going to be stressful, so just make sure you’re going someplace nice… like a castle… or a forest. Forests are nice.