films · gaming · inspiration · language learning · various life things

I watched another documentary.

The other night while going through Netflix, I found a new documentary by The Minimalists called Less Is Now. I think this is exactly what I needed to hear. I had already been cutting down on buying things just to buy them for a couple of months now (I swear something happened to my mindset on my last birthday), but this documentary was very enlightening and definitely gave me more hope and motivation to continue. It also was inspirational with the concept of just letting go. I talked about this in my last post, but this time it really hit different.

The Minimalists: Less Is Now promo poster from Netflix, via IMDB.

For a while, I have been wanting to get rid of old j-pop and k-pop CDs, photo books, photos, and so on. I think most of the stuff may just need to be recycled, although I’d love to even give stuff away for free for anyone who is interested so it doesn’t go to complete waste. Most of the CDs I have, I don’t even listen to the groups anymore. So I wonder, why do I still have them? They take up way too much space. And I finally realized: it’s because of the memory of the item. But, is the memory really tied to the item? Not really. I will always have the memory in my mind, so why keep unnecessary things? It took me far too long to realize this, but it’s a start! This weekend, I am starting at the beginning of my big cleanout, which I suspect will go for at least a few months or even into the summer. This was something I was going to do a year ago, but then COVID happened and is still happening although at least I feel like I can manage better. I will definitely document the process here even with photos!

I also started listening to The Minimalists podcast which has also been fairly enlightening so far, especially with finances! I’m glad I finally discovered these guys. Another podcast and documentary I’d love to get into is the Headspace one. When I did therapy at my university, my therapist recommended the app to me and it honestly helped. I think watching the new documentary and getting into the podcast would at least be a start.

Now for a language learning check-in!

I’ll start with Korean, since that’s my priority focus. The lessons are still going very well and it’s amazing how much I’ve learned since I started in November. I almost have no issues reading the language, although am still learning different words and grammar. I think my speaking is okay, but I really want to work on my listening skills so I plan to do that on my own time with k-dramas along with BTS and ENHYPEN contents!

Second is Japanese. This is going way better than anticipated because I have had experience with the language for years, I just never really sat down to properly learn it. I think my speaking and listening skills for this are okay, but I need to work on my reading skills for actual hiragana/katakana. It’s also interesting that Japanese and Korean sentence order share a lot of similarities so it’s super easy to remember!

Last is Chinese. This is going well for having zero experience. I’ve learned pinyin so far and I think next week we’re starting with the actual textbook (HSK1). This language relies a lot on tones/sounds which I didn’t realize before, so I definitely want to focus on listening and speaking skills to make sure that I’m saying the right tone for the word I mean or else it becomes something entirely different!

Besides having weekly lessons, self-study is very important for me to do. If I was able to, I would just self-study for all the languages, but having at least one actual lesson a week with a tutor holds me accountable, like I need to study and can’t just show up on Zoom without having gone over anything. I definitely think this way works better for me. I also finally ordered some study supplies and materials to put together over the weekend. I try not to schedule lessons on weekends now to give myself a bit of a break from Zoom, and I think that works out fine as well! Another thing I need to do is go through all my textbooks I have accumulated over the years, and either donate them or decide to actually use them.

Anyway, the only other thing going on is that I do have another career counseling meeting on the 25th which is exciting. I’m hoping there will be workshops in the spring I can go to, even if it’s digitally. And I’ve just been playing a lot of Uncharted. I’m making my way through 4 right now, and it’s so incredible. I don’t want it to end, even though I’ll be playing it at least another 3-4 times fully to get all the trophies, plus multiplayer! I’m really addicted to the survival mode. It’s so much fun!

I hope everyone is doing well and staying safe! Until next time. Take care everyone!

films · inspiration · technology

My Social Dilemma

This morning, I was able to watch a documentary I have been interested in since I learned of its existence about a couple of weeks ago: The Social Dilemma. It’s available starting today on Netflix and I urge everyone to give it a watch. And when you do, put your phone on silent or even turn it off so you don’t get distracted because this throws a lot at you and will have you thinking about your social media usage and your relationship with your phone and technology by the time it’s over. It goes into great detail about how these social media apps actually work and the bubble that we are all in. It also discusses how we are products being sold. Some of the concepts were very obvious, but it felt that it needed to be addressed by people who worked with these systems and know how they work firsthand in order to really get it.

The Social Dilemma promotional image courtesy of Netflix

Honestly, this might be one of the scariest documentaries I have seen so far because it’s very real and it’s happening right now with no end in sight, or so it seems. Despite not wanting to, I saw myself too many times being described in this documentary. And it truly haunted me a little bit. I do have some hope with The Center for Humane Technology (https://www.humanetech.com/), which I definitely plan to learn more about in the near future! I already subscribed to their podcast!

As a result from watching this documentary, it really inspired me to look more at my phone usage and the apps I have on there. I deleted almost 50 apps today, as well as almost my entire photo gallery that was sadly, mostly full of memes I had saved while endlessly scrolling through the depths of Twitter.

So, which apps survived? Well, not a whole lot. I have what I would categorize as “essential apps”, like apps to pay my bills and an app for my bank account. I went down from about 14 photo editing apps to only one, PicsArt, which I use to edit my gaming screenshots for Instagram, which is the only social media app I have left on my phone. I debated keeping Twitter, but ultimately, it had to go. Apple Music and Play Music are also still on my phone, as well as Audible and the Google Podcast app for some nice, easy listening on breaks. I do have Ipsy, Amazon, Dunkin, and Starbucks apps on my phone as well… that can’t hurt, right?

Another thing that I did?

I turned off notifications for the apps that remain. I have text and phone notifications on, and that’s it. I don’t get a notification every single time I get an email, or someone “likes” something I posted. It’s been only 12 hours but let me tell you, it feels awesome. It’s sad to wonder what life was before all of this technology just… happened. You don’t need to always be online or be connected to live. I think it’s the opposite: you need to disconnect. Not even 100% or permanently, unless you want to, but just enough so that using these things becomes healthier.

This even rolled over to my Playstation 4. I cleared out the storage almost completely, deleting games I doubt I will ever play again or am completely done with. And it felt good! 

We’ll see how it goes. I’m wondering how much of an impact this has all had on my mental health. Time will tell.


PS: An interesting article popped up today about bringing back the old school “away message”, and seems relevant, check it out here!