Saturday, 14 November 2015

What about a diet, but instead of changing what you eat, you'd change what you read/watch/listen?

There are thousands of diets out there, and lately I've been thinking... if we can adjust the way we eat in order to obtain a certain result, maybe there is a similar way to change what we consume as entertainment in order to think differently.

I started to think that after realizing how much time I was spending online doing nothing, learning nothing and not even having a real laugh. I started to feel like those people that notice they're getting sick because they eat fast food and ready meals all the time. Yes, they're cheap and tasty, but deep down you know they're not the best you could be having.

And there's nothing wrong with indulging in a never ending scrolling of memes and social media statuses, nor will I judge anyone who's spends a whole evening reading one Buzzfeed list after the other (those 84 thoughts they had while watching Game of Thrones really are all of us) or someone that follows more "and you won't believe what happened next" links than they would like to admit.
However, when it came to the point that I was giving it almost enough time for it to be a part time job, I felt that I was starting to think in GIF images and memes, and I didn't like it.

It got so bad that just as older people might have a saying or a popular expression for many things, I caught myself repeating popular captions such as "nothing to do here", "I'm not even mad, that's amazing" and "I'm not always X, but when I do, I Y".

Let's say that if I were to compare entertainment/information to food, I would be exchanging most of the fast food, takeaway and ready meals I was having daily, for a mix of homemade cooking, some quirky artisan products and a good sandwich from a nice deli. It doesn't sound so drastic because it isn't, but I'm not ready to go vegan on my enterteainment either.

Instead of setting it by the day, as you can more easily do with food because you eat it three times a day, here's an example of what I'm trying to get done in a week:

1. Watch 1 "good" blockbuster movie: Everyone will have their definition of what a "good movie" is, but to keep it simple for the example, let's say it's a movie with at least decent ratings both from critics and audience in the website Rotten Tomatoes (although if it has a great score on one side and awful in the other it might be interesting as well). Ideally in the cinema, by the way.

2. Watch 1 "good" non-blockbuster movie or a few episodes of a good TV series: It can be a classic, a documentary, a "foreign" (non Hollywood), an independent or a lower budget film. In other words, something that is a bit different. 

3. Read/listen to the news for a few minutes every day: One of the things I love about living in a country in which occasionally you get good news is to find out about them. I leave them on, on the radio on my way to work, or stop and read an article or two when I see them shared in my social media.

4. Catch up on social media, and then move on: Instead of jumping to my screen everytime I hear the alarm, I will tend to it when I have a moment to dedicate to that, and instead of compulsively checking every post from every friend, I'll just do a quick scroll and stop if I find something interesting or truly funny.

5. Not sharing rubbish: I wasn't very guilty of this anyway, but now I try to do it even less. Well, maybe a picture of a dog occasionally is not the end of the world, but you get the idea.

6. Not engaging in Internet arguments: I used to do it sometimes, out of boredom or to defend  a friend, but it's just not worth the time.

7. Read a few chapters from a real book: By real I mean a paper book, just because I like it, but an e-book is fine if that's your thing. But it has to be non technical please, recipe books and manuals don't count, and neither do magazines, even though some of them are great. Fiction, non fiction or something in between, try to go through a couple dozen pages at least, before you put it down.

8. Make something creative: Maybe write a short story or at least a page in my diary or a post in here, attemp to mix some music samples (I've tried once so far so it counts!). If I'm feeling dumb, at the very very least, fill up half a page from a colouring book. 

9. Listen to new music: I love my playlists, but sometimes when you play the same few songs over and over, you might not discover something new you will love. Spotify is great for this, but many pages and apps can help. And it doesn't have to be literally "new" it can be a very old band, or a new album from a group you used to listen to. As long as it's NEW FOR YOU, then it counts.

10. Have more conversations: In person, via Whatsapp, Skype or Facebook... it doesn't matter, just ask some one how they are or what are they thinking, and listen/read, and then talk/write. It's as simple as that.

I don't know if I'll have time to get all these done every week, but I'm sure I'll try. 

Sometimes I crave to see a hundred memes or funny vines, and sometimes I do, but not all the time anymore. I won't pretend to recommend anyone anything or tell prople what to do, but for me, so far, so good.

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