Saturday, January 25, 2014

Baking A Cake

My kryptonite is sweets. Cake, cookies, chocolate, pies, ice cream. You get the idea.

Occasionally I bake, but not as often as I would like. There's usually some butter, some eggs, some sugar, a preheated oven and a prescribed length of time. Knowing what is involved in the final project doesn't diminish the final project. I don't eat a cake and think to myself, "Wow, I can really taste the flour, sugar, eggs, vanilla extract and baking powder." (I just got hungry.) Although I know the cake is the product of its ingredients, it is something new and different. There is a synergy that makes it more than the sum of its parts.

This isn't about baking a cake.

I often find myself analysing the "ingredients" in life. I try to figure what is involved in creating the life I see others living. It doesn't make the final product any less special or fulfilling because I know what was involved in making it. In some ways it's even more special when you know that it is more than just the ingredients that went into the final product. For myself, I am not a natural baker. If I didn't know what the ingredients were, I don't think I could stumble into baking a cake, despite my best efforts. So I observe other bakers and learn from their methods and their ingredients. And that's how I learn.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Social Media Masks

According to facebook even more friends are engaged now than 24 hours ago. See my post below.

It amazes me how many people seem to feel the need to post what they are doing on social media. I admit, as a blogger, I do the same thing. But rarely do I feel the need to share that I am buying a new shirt or post a picture of me doing something stupid the moment I do it. It seems as though most social media feeds itself, for no purpose other than to create an "advertisement" promoting the poster. I believe it was Shakespeare who wrote, "Me thinks thou dost post too much." Translated to modern day English: The more you say it (or post it) the less likely it is to be true. A perfect example is the "selfie". People take pictures of themselves to show how beautiful they are, or funny they are, or how great they are, or how much fun they are having, or to boast about their exciting party or vacation, etc... I remember a time when people just did things because they wanted to. Now it seems like people do something just to show other people. And like Shakespeare said, the more you say it, the less likely it is to be true. When I'm having fun, I'm in the moment. The last thing on my mind is that I need to take a picture of it and share it immediately with everyone so they know I am having fun. I propose that those who do are insecure and whatever the picture or post shows, reality is not as the picture makes it appear. I think there's insecurity and a need for affirmation behind most selfies and status updates.

Having said that, I pulled a minor facebook prank just to see who will bite. We'll call it a social experiment. I made a claim that isn't true. Anyone who knows me knows it isn't true. Those who've talked to me in the last couple days knows it can't be true. And yet I've gotten over 10 comments and over 70 "likes" from my lie. What did this prove? Reality and social media are 2 different things. Whether intentional or not, things on social media are not always what they seem. I'd hazard a guess that things are mostly not what they seem. Social media is more a mask for the user than a revelation. Even when we post honest things, our omissions create a false picture others see. I may honestly post all the great things happening in my life, but if I omit all the sad things too, I paint an unbalanced picture of sunshine and mountaintops, while ignoring shadows and valleys. The result is deceptive.

In case you follow me on facebook as well as here, no, I did not go to Hawaii for New Years.
Thanks for all well wishes. I promise everything else I post is true.


So, it's 2014.

I rang in the new year by getting one of the better nights of sleep I've had in quite some time. In bed by 9:30pm. Awake at 7am. I guess I needed it. I'm not one for making New Year's resolutions, or at least not keeping them. I'm still working on my "No Procrastinating" resolution from a few years ago. However, I think this year I will aim at getting a good night's sleep every night.

The secret to keeping any "resolution", be it New Year's related or not, is to make it reasonable, quantifiable and remember the plan is the goal. Saying, "I will lose 50 pounds this year," doesn't meet the requirements. However, "I will cut out desserts and walk for 30 minutes every day to lose 50 pounds" does. The final destination is merely the result of the real goal, to walk and eat less carbs. It's an actual plan that can be enacted, quantified and realistically achieved. Losing 50 pounds is just the byproduct of walking and eating less.

My goals for 2014, not resolutions, are:
-Be in bed by 10pm every night (resulting in better night's sleep)
-Walk/run for 30 minutes every day (resulting in better health and increased energy)
-Eat less desserts, eat more fruits and vegetables (resulting in better health and increased energy)
-Swim 1km every weekend (resulting in better health and increased energy)
-Learn something new every week, like a song, a technical fact, a new word (resulting in increased brain health and character development)
-Share what I've learned with others
-Develop a plan for reducing stress at work (resulting in a better life style)
-Do more of what I like because I like it and less of what I don't like but do just because others want me to do it (resulting in better life stlye)
-Journal daily (resulting in a log of my achievements, or "learning opportunities" and forcing me to be still each day)

That's about it for now. I'll do up a 2013 year in review sometime before mid February.