I am trying a lot of pictures in the night for my challenge. I am not finding it easy, especially capturing the skies. A light source matters a lot for me to get a shot I like. Today, I managed to witness a game of smoke and light. Day 12 of #30day 🖼️

After a few busy weeks, it’s good to be back reading the timeline at M.b again. The inspiration to write, to tinker, to create, to reflect is contagious; and the M.b timeline is full of that.

Nothing fancy, just another night walk. I love the lights in the night. Day 11 of #30day 🖼️

A third into the challenge, yet nothing’s special. Skies, but during the night walk – I love the contrast, however. Capturing the night skies might be one of the trickiest things. Day 10 of #30day 🖼️

A similar view as the fifth day. The same tree sprawling through the same skies. But a shot so very different. I am learning so much about the angles and frame the past few days. Day 9 of #30day 🖼️

Every morning, I walked across these fire hydrant - I find their symmetry always charming. Also the shade of red they flaunt. Day 8 of #30day 🖼️

Another morning walk, another day of cloudy skies! Dull and uneventful. So had to search for colors in the fields around - alone, the last surviving one amidst the jungle of concrete around. Day 7 of #30day 🖼️

After a phase of consistent writing, these are a silent few days. I have been busy a lot. Too many threads. Too many things at the top of my mind. Writing hasn’t slowed down, I am filling pages of my journal every day. But publishing has almost halted. Except for the #30day posts.

I love how when the mind gets bogged down with too many thoughts, spilling it all out onto a paper always helps declutter it. But, these are some of the rawest, most personal of the thoughts. I haven’t learnt to open up so much to publish these. Maybe, I never will. That’s just not my personality.

On the morning walk! The skies today were absolutely dull, cloudy and uneventful. So, here’s another shot of busy skies from yesterday. Day 6 of #30day 🖼️

On the morning walk! The skies were laden with clouds today, it also meant the sun had a great chance to peek every now & then and light the sky on fire. Day 5 of #30day 🖼️

Also attempted some minor editing for effect. Spot looks different from previous days, for sure.

How Hobbies Infiltrated American Life - The Atlantic

Theoretically, hobbies should be among the most intrinsically motivated things we could do—they are the work we choose to do when we could be doing anything. But the validation we get from others online, and the validation we get from our culture writ large for spending our free time in a productive, virtuous way, muddies that motivation.

A brilliant essay, specifically this snippet highlights a key issue that social media platforms foster, something that I had written about recently.

Of the morning walk! Same spot as yesterday, but back to the morning sky. It looked uneventful, the sun had wrapped up its play. Day 4 of #30day 🖼️

I also loved this hazy lamp during my walk this evening, attempting to light the path, even when it need not yet.

I am really enjoying Wordle everyday. Today’s was absolutely close – I had to get the pen & paper out. I didn’t want to break the streak, you see.

What about Social Media is bad?

Everything, some might say. But such barbs might not help identify and address the core issue.

For the past few days, I have read a lot of posts where people describe why they are quitting social media — Facebook, Instagram, and the peskiest of all, Twitter; I empathise with the stories they are narrating. The wasted hours or the effects of doom-scrolling or an overall sense of negativity, helplessness. Colin Devroe describes well how these platforms have affected his ability to focus.

[W]hen I’m still, when I’m idle, when I feel like I could be bored at any moment I grab my phone and scroll through Twitter which sends my mind into overdrive on a million topics, timelines, thoughts, and emotions.

I get all of that. But my train of thoughts takes a slightly different turn, and I am left pondering what exactly do I find problematic about social media platforms.

Is it the timeline? If that’s the case, why is YouTube a concern? Is it the recommendations feed? If that’s the case, why is the chronological timeline on Twitter still pesky? Is it the trends? Well, why is the curated Instagram an issue? None of these is problematic in isolation. The effect that all of them put together have on me is the concern.

Passive consumption hurts me more

I have realised that social media platforms lead users towards passive consumption. They benefit from their ability to make meaningless interactions pleasing. Or at least engaging. All the concerns I have stem from this “user-engagement-at-all-cost” business practice. Irrespective of how pleasing this interaction feels in the moment, it leaves me furious for the time wasted.

Twitter timeline is prone to do that. YouTube homepage does that, and so does their recommendation engine. Instagram, Facebook feeds do that. For me, even the Reddit forums tend to do that. Debatable, but Podcasts do that too. And to top it all, my smartphone does this to the worst effect.

In short, meaningless interactions with any service or device is a problem. Passive consumption it leads to leaves me exhausted, feeling shit.

That is why a community like Micro.blog is not generally on such lists. The timeline component of Micro.blog, even though Manton has designed it to be different from Twitter and its ilk, is social media. But given the nature of the community, the interactions tend to inspire me to create, to act. Be opposite of passive. Even then, the timeline on my smartphone still causes me to waste time. It makes me pull down incessantly, subconsciously, and refresh. To check for more posts to interact with. The pull-down-to-refresh has to be the most unhealthy use of our thumbs.

I had this issue identified some time back. It quit the social media that was useless to me, Facebook. I put control on those I use, Micro.blog and Twitter. It is their hunger to make me mindlessly scroll that I had to stifle. Most often, they do that via their apps on my smartphones. So, they don’t get space on my phone anymore. I access all the timelines on my computer. I follow the RSS feeds for many blogs to avoid visiting the timelines frequently.

Not a problem for all

That said, I don’t judge others who continue to benefit from social media platforms. Get happiness out of using some or all of them. What’s hollow for me might be meaningful for them. This thought was one of the reasons I didn’t post when I quit social media for the first time. I wanted to avoid sounding preachy. Plus, the resolve to not use the platforms at all didn’t last for long anyway. I share the dilemma that Cheri puts down in her brilliant essay aptly named No Social Media Club.

My feelings are true to me, but I don’t want others to feel judged for what they choose to do. There was a time when our messier feelings were shared in certain contexts. At home. With family. With friends. With a therapist. Not online. Not like this. Not where someone who recently shared a donut photo might feel momentarily stung by my essay. You see my dilemma, no? What is currently truth for me might be a hurtful barb to someone else.

Absolutely. I am no one to judge other people’s choices. In response, they might judge me for such posts I write on my blog that I have no clue if anyone is reading at all. I have no likes or re-shares to show for them. I do this because I get clarity, happiness out of writing this, sharing this. As they say, you do you.

In short, in the strictest sense, I am not “quitting” social media. It’s not the platforms in themselves that I have a problem with. Any interaction that leads me to consume meaninglessly, passively or makes me feel shit is what I am quitting.

How often does a technical or political thought piece alter a person’s perspective? Not very often. Our biases make us judge the essay way before we have read it in its entirety. Possibly right at the title, most of the times. An example, discussion on WSJ piece on iMessages.

On the evening walk! Skies from the same spot as the last two days, a different time today though. Without the sun shading the skies orange. Day 3 of #30day 🖼️

I am happy with the second issue of the weekly newsletter that I sent out today. The minimal styling that I had recommended last week seems to have helped it. Sure, it was still some work to restructure a few things. But it was worth it. I also fixed a few minor issues.

Doing what you love

“Do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life,” goes a mantra for success – an adage that is unfortunately overrated, though. A person can’t always do what she loves to do. Rather, there are very few fortunate folks who do just what they want to do in their life. An extension to that adage is love what you do. Well, nor can one always love what she does. Rather, most folks hate what they do. They do it because they have to do it.

“Passion is the genesis of genius,” says Tony Robbins. Aha, that is precisely the reason we aren’t surrounded by geniuses. The majority of us are stuck doing something for which we have no passion.

That is such a cynical attitude, you say? Sure. But, it also is the reality of our world. Should we then give up? Far from that, actually. What one should do is to find out why they are doing what they are doing. For some, it might be the money. Or a sense of comfort. For many, it might be the best among the available options. Find peace with what you do. That is the first step to reach a phase in your life when you can do what you love to do.

There is also the fact that what you love can very well be temporary. It takes time to find your passion. What you think is your passion may very well be a fleeting interest. As Derek Sivers reminds us, we can’t always depend on our current opinions.

(Our) former self is not always right. We shouldn’t preserve our first opinions as if they reflect our pure, untarnished, true nature. They’re often just the result of inexperience or a temporary phase. Old opinions shouldn’t define who we are in the future.

It is the contentedness, though passing, that matters the most. Do what makes you feel contented, what gives you a good night’s sleep.

That said, there is, of course, another way. Stick to what you are passionate about. Switch paths when your passion changes. There will be hardships because doing what you think you love is not easy. But being satisfied never is. Be firm, stay strong.

So, which way do you prefer?

Morning of the walk! Same spot as yesterday, same time. But such different shades of the sky. Day 2 of #30day 🖼️

I also loved this lone lamp standing amongst the tries, attempting to not getting lost.

At times, something that’s waste can gain a lot of value. An item in case, Fordite. This wasted enamel car paint is worthy of being worn as a jewel. Reason? It is rare. And it looks beautiful as a gem!

You don’t need to be a diamond to shine. Exist and evolve. Give yourself time. Nature and time may mould you into your worthy self.

Morning of the walk! Also begins the first of the next 30 day challenge. Day 1 of #30day 🖼️

What is a productive day? Well, when it is closer to your bedtime, and you feel good inside for the day gone by, you have had a productive day. It doesn’t matter then how much you achieved in the day. Or how many of the planned tasks you ticked off. What matters is how the waking hours make you feel.

Plans are like the lane markings on the roads. It is beneficial to stick to them, follow guidelines around them. But often to move ahead, you have to put on the indicators and cross over such markers. You can’t let them become hinderances that slow you down, hold you back.

Plan. But move ahead.

The 41 Best Pens for 2022

The title of “The Best Pen” is a weighty one—not everyone wants the same things from their pens, and what makes for one person’s perfect pen may be intolerable to another. It’s also true that different types of pens aren’t directly comparable.

There are days when nothing you read inspires any thought in you. Or a curiosity to comment on something. It’s as if the whole world has decided to selectively pick topics that you have no interest in. I don’t like such days.

Museum of the World

Welcome to The Museum of the World - an interactive experience through time, continents and cultures, featuring some of the most fascinating objects in human history.