Making Priorities

This weekend was spectacularly busy. I’ve always been comfortable being alone when I grew up, changing schools and neighborhoods was like changing shoes for me. And so I’ve had a secret longing to belong somewhere. To remain in a place and build ties with the land and it’s people, something that only time and experience can nurture.

Today my situation is vastly different with an opportunity to party and hang out just about everyday of the week. I have noticed that this position makes it easy to lose track of your private hobbies, it feels so easy to lose track of what is important to us. I find it especially difficult because I have noticed that my childhood’s lack of social exposure makes me quickly say yes to joining groups to talk about everything and nothing. Then I noticed it.

We start accepting outings after outings, the days brightly shine for a minute and before we know it, it’s already night time and we are sleeping in a messy room with an after taste of alcohol in our mouth and an over-indulgence of shared conversations in our head. It is fine by me, but this behavior will slip us into a cycle of redundant weeks where nothing ever gets done. It invites mediocrity. Some people are okay with that, but as far as I am concerned I don’t want to fall into incompetence, over-indulgence and being influenced by people who’s desires are not my own. At least not for too long.

I try to keep it to myself, but even if I go to bed at 4AM I still put my alarm clock at 6AM and do my personal routine. Now, I am a big advocate when it comes to getting enough sleep. Ideally you decline invitations if you know they will burn you and ruin your plans for tomorrow. It’s about having that little ounce of willpower to say no. You can build that willpower with littles acts. Making your bed every morning, flossing your teeth, shining your shoes, just caring for your body and your surrounding environment is a good start. We can also look at our mental-emotional state and check for points where we have a tendency to neglect ourselves or other people by choosing the path of least resistance and seeing why we do it in the first place.

I have fate in myself, I choose myself today and it is by doing these small routines that I have what it takes in a real situation to know what is good for me and increase my chances of showing up refreshed and satisfied.

The Password Manager is your Friend

I have been using a password manager after having one of my accounts compromised online which almost cost me 2500$. After a month of use I can safely say that this was among the smartest moves I have made this year.

If you don’t know what a password manager is, I invite you to read the following link.

It’s not even about protecting my individual accounts. If I include work-related accounts I have over 30 different credential pairs. That’s a lot of user names and passwords to remember. Why should I bother remembering each account when I could just have them stored in a secure database?

Chances are, I would have used a similar password for all of those accounts too. With amazon’s one-click buying checkout option, my Gmail containing bills and my Facebook account being a gateway to my friends and family there’s no good reason to poorly protect this sensitive information.

My only caveat with the password manager I use(KeePass) is that I don’t have any kind of way of synchronizing my database across multiple devices. It isn’t too bad anymore because my database has somewhat stabilized itself lately.

It can also be a pain in the ass to copy passwords over using the KeePass mobile app, but overall this was the right move.

It’s Already too Late

The man himself, Malcolm X

I watched a documentary about Malcolm X’s life. It was difficult to relate to his childhood. His father being run over by a train. His mother landing in a psychiatric ward. Him going to jail. They say that it’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it which matters, but you kind of want to have favorable circumstances coming your way every now and then. It didn’t seem to happen to Malcolm though. At least not in his young adult life. Yet he’s forged his character through faith and a deep desire to be the change he wanted to see in the world. He can be criticized, but it never seemed liked he hid himself under any lie. And if it seemed like he lied on some points I believe that it came from a strong inner-belief of a vision that did not quite map with the world. Perhaps it was just a convincing self-delusion, but it remains to be said, he seemed to have incredible presence on stage.

One thing that stood out for me was his ‘it’s already too late’ philosophy. It can be considered rather radical, but it does convey a strong paradigm shift. He proposes a sense of urgency. You have a desire? A dream? Looking for a change? Well it is already too late. You can act now, in the present, not yesterday, not tomorrow, but now. And if this seems like a one way ticket to making decisions without thinking of the consequences we are wrong. We can immediately plan out or ask for advice from our peers or our friends. We can evaluate a proper course of action right now, otherwise it’s already too late. That moment you were given is long gone.

Act when it Matters

Last week I woke up with a sore upper back. Couldn’t turn my head around nor could I move my arms. This week I got a sinus infection. My nose is leaking, I have trouble concentrating and my eyes itch. Breathing freely is now a luxury.

Make it spin’

And so what? Will my routine change? No. I do not subject myself to an unhealthy obsession surrounding my current physical condition. Do I feel like complaining? Perhaps a little bit. Is my work suffering from it? Yes, perhaps it is not as good, but it is my best. The tasks are completed, slowly, but steadily. Whenever you rationalize your way out of what can be done you are missing on an opportunity. To act when it matters most is to do it when everything is pulling you down. If you keep spinning the wheel, even just a little, it never gets a chance to reverse it’s motion.

I feel better already.

No, I will not fix your Computer

Have your dog do it for you, don’t ask me!

A month ago, my mother asked me a favor. She wanted me to setup my old computer up with a few programs. The purpose being, that she would use it to do her assignments after registering for a class on computer administration. And so I proceeded. I was missing licenses for software that I bought a few years ago. So I got them by other means(wink wink). Of course she wanted Windows, which I am not a big fan of, but given the hardware available at home and her need for the office suite, there were no other options.

A week later she calls me complaining that everything is in English while the screen shots in her book are presenting a French GUI. So I spent another day finding data packs for various software; in French.

After fighting with the system for longer than I expected, I could not get Internet explorer(IE) to display in French. Her school used IE so other alternatives were out of the window(even if it takes about 2 minutes to get a French version of either Firefox or Chrome).

After running weird hacks for 8 hours in an attempt to remove a dreaded IE version, I give up. Aaaaand, I end up with a corrupted registry. Thankfully, I remembered that my friend had access to the Microsoft Student portal since he was a university student. I asked him to get me a legit version of Windows in French. I proceeded with re-installing all the components in French. This time IE is installed in French and I can call it a day.

A few weeks had passed, my mom hadn’t given me any phone call. No news is good news. Then it happens. The phone is ringing. My mom is sick of having the computer in the basement. She complained about back pain and cold feet for a few days and she blames the computers current location.

We argue a little bit, but she convinces me with food. So today I moved the computer upstairs. Turns out the wireless desktop adapter I had extra was broken. No Internet. Sorry mum. Me and my dad thought about it and we decided to drill a hole in the walls and pass a cable to hook the computer up to the router that would remain in the basement.

And that’s why I don’t fix peoples computers. Next time, read the f — ing manual and you might go to sleep brighter.