We live in an Age of Enlightenment 

Ramble No. 4:

People have always found it strange that I enjoy learning. I enjoy absorbing new information. I enjoy learning new concepts. I enjoy reading about things that I don’t know and looking up things that make no sense to me.

We live in an age where information is a click away. If you don’t know something, you look it up and get so many different answers. You can get a short answer or a long answer that is detailed with links to further information all of which are only further clicks away. Most of us are glued to our phones or using them often . It’s part of life in this age so, why not learn new stuff?

Our brains were created to absorb information and use it, constantly. If we stop learning, it slowly starts to decay. There is just so much information out there that there is no way you wouldn’t find something that you, in particular, find interesting to learn about. Even if you don’t like reading, the same information can be available on videos or podcasts. Even memes an gifs now convey interesting information!

Next time you’re texting someone and they mention a word you’ve never heard or make a reference you don’t understand, just paste it into Google or whatever search engine you prefer. Not only will you learn something new, you can actually reply with something other than “What’s that?” which will definitely keep the conversation interesting and you might actually find it interesting yourself. You may also read/hear more about it and find more information.

We live in an age where ignorance has really become arrogance. It is normal that we are all ignorant of things we don’t know about obviously. But, it is another to remain ignorant when you are made aware of something. Even if it is not particularly something you enjoy, you can look it up just to find out what it is and go with the simpler definitions or illustrations. That way, the next time it’s mentioned, you aren’t sat clueless wondering how many more times it’ll be mentioned before you find out what it is. We all do it, at least every once in a while, just wonder. It’s normal. I think we’re all hardwired to be curious, some act on their intrigue and some don’t. I am amazed to find out that the amount of people deciding to learn and grow the amount of knowledge they hold is increasing. It’s a wonderful thing.

I used to be one of the people who, for most things, asked “What’s that?” or “what does that mean?” when I could have just as easily looked it up. Some of my interactions actually said “ever heard of Google?”. Now, I don’t mind answering people if they ask these questions because I do enjoy teaching people things they don’t know (as badly as I teach anything) because the sense of intrigue, the amazement in someone’s voice or on their face is in itself, fascinating. So whenever someone asks, I explain a little and if they seem interested, I do sometimes suggest that they look it up to “see what I mean” because I appreciate that I’m not the best with explanations (hence the numbered ramblings are titles to every post). Although, even if the explanation was good, looking it up does act as a visual aid.

Now that I’ve ranted enough about looking things up, lets do something else. Here are a few things that may be useful to learn:

  1. Get better at Excel!

Most of us will need to learn how to be good at this (in my case how to use it other than as a list) to be able to work most current jobs so why not give it a shot? It’s free and done by experts! If you’re thinking about, or starting to, work for yourself, this will definitely be useful to you.

2. Read faster!

If you’ve ever felt like your reading has slowed down, this can help. I’m dyslexic and this helped improve my reading so why not, right? It’s also free.

3. Learn a new language in your down time

This has got to be one of my personal favourites. I always found learning new languages interesting. When I was younger, I’d have happily learned more languages if there were teachers around to teach me but unfortunately, we did very basic French at school and I didn’t have the option of a private tutor to learn a third language. If I knew about Duolingo a few years ago, I’d be fluent in more than my two native languages at the moment! I started learning Spanish on it about a year ago. Just a few things when I’m going to bed (I end up dreaming of the words/phrases being learned).

Caveat: simply learning and practising on Duolingo will not make you a fluent speaker, you still need to practice it alongside other materials or with fluent speakers but it sure as hell will get you there! They’re adding new languages and improving the service constantly so it’s worth it.

4. Take better pictures

I think everyone would like to take better pictures! I’ve had a DSLR since I was about 16. I take decent pictures but I’ve always wanted to improve them so I tend to enjoy sites like this. Hopefully, I can improve before my trip this summer *fingers crossed I don’t fall into a lake*

There are so many things you can learn when you’re bored. There’s always something interesting that you do by giving it short bursts of time now and then. It isn’t an impossible or necessarily a difficult thing. Give it a shot and see how you get on.

Social Interactions Have Changed

The world is changing. People are more withdrawn, communicating less, less real connections are made and the people making dating apps have expanded into friendship apps.

Ramble No. 3:

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I find it ridiculous that you can no longer just make friends like you used to. I grew up surrounded by an inordinate amount of people. Yes, they were not all my friends but we all knew each other, we all socialised together, often had the same close friends and ended up making even more friends but the world is changing. This seems to be a norm in the West – stay away from people unless you’ve met them online and you had some common interests. It is also difficult when you work a full-time job that takes up the majority of your time and it can sometimes include weekends. The same difficulty is faced for several other reasons including having a medical condition, caring for someone else, etc.

Don’t get me wrong, I do like meeting people online but I do miss meeting people in person and getting more than an “excuse me” or “oh it’s cold today”, etc. I miss having real conversations with real people. My generation seems to be evolving into this purely work-driven force and it is amazing to see that change in society but as stated above, this does have a downside.

Because people are so withdrawn or secluded from real social interactions, when they are around others, they seem to have more of a temper, less patience. People are becoming more picky, more critical. People driving down the road have no patience whatsoever anymore. There is too much friction in the world, too much negative energy. Yet, people will complain about receiving the same negative energy that they’re sending out. It can easily be changed. You can send out good vibes by simply displaying more patience, being nicer to people, having more compassion for other especially since you don’t know any given stranger’s situation and the reasons for why they may have done whatever it is they’ve done that has for some ridiculous reason angered you. This is in no way applicable to everyone but it seems that the group of people that this applies to is growing and that isn’t something we need more of in the world. It is already becoming a dark age that we live in considering all the chaos around the world so why would we want to add to it? We should be improving not regressing.

Now back to the dating/friendship app ramble:

There seems to be an increase of these apps although the all-time public favourite seems to be Tinder. Regardless of the initial aim of this software, it has become a way to get laid, that is generally what most of its users want from it. But I found it strange that there are apps that make it fun to “make a connection” as it displays nothing more than a first name, age, occupation, education and allows you to add in some details about yourself but that isn’t a requirement. This allows people to remain vague, to learn more about each other by talking. I like that. Sometimes the same app will have a setting allowing you to only see and be shown to people who are not interested in a relationship but rather, a friendship. It gives you the same options in terms of personal details. Although it does allow for more communication, the fact that there are so many users subscribed to these things overwhelms you because there are way too many choices.

Imagine scrolling through hundreds or thousands of profiles with minimum information or one-liners. You have a type (or certain things you prefer in a person), everyone does. Sometimes you may not realise it unless you see a pattern of the people whose profiles you have liked but the preferences are always there. Another problem then crops up is that you inadvertently raise your standards because you simply can. There are way too many choices and you can choose the top contenders for whatever characteristic you prefer. It is too tempting not to like those “way out of your league”.

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So if everyone’s going for top picks, those who may not be considered your stereotypical dream guy/girl/other end up waiting around or trying to start conversations that are going nowhere because, more often than not, the top contenders want someone on their level. It may be a horrible thing to say or think but it’s the honest truth. People then complain that they haven’t been able to find someone who likes them back.

If you’re out there looking for someone who is perfect for you based on the minimal information provided, how do you know they’re the right person? If we are going to continue this online thing because we’re too busy, too shy, too awkward, whatever the reason, then we have to change how we go about it. Here are some things that can improve the results you’re getting:

  1. Change your choices

Don’t keep choosing the exact same person with a different name, sightly different height, slightly different interests, slightly different anything else. Change it more than that. It’s like getting out of your comfort zone but you would be surprised what happens when you don’t stick to your preferences to the T.

2. Be vague but be honest

Lots of people will lie on their profiles/bios. They may claim to be some world-renowned something or another, they may claim to enjoy something they don’t or even worse, they may get too specific about something which will cloud over all the other great things about them. This is part of the online persona. This is a lot of people are still scared about meeting people online only to meet them and find out the whole thing was a lie or that they’re super creepy and just wanted to seem chilled out. Just be honest, don’t say too much. The right people will strike up a conversation. Just like you’re intrigued by someone’s bio that includes nothing but a dry joke, they’ll be intrigued by whatever interesting traits you’ve put in yours.

3. Just be you

This ties in to the second point and it is something that has been emphasised by so many people in so many ways for as long as human interaction has existed yet we tend to ignore it at least half of the time. It will feel like you’re reading the same thing again because the gist of what I want to say here is that if you’re being yourself you’ll attract the right kind of people. It is true for so many reasons but most of all, if you’re not being yourself and the other person likes you, imagine have to put up the charade for as long as you’re with that person. What if that person likes all the things about you that aren’t really you? What if you can’t keep up those little things because you don’t enjoy them or because they actually get on your nerves? So many reasons why it’s a bad idea to pretend being something you’re not for both you and the other person so just be you.

4. Don’t try too hard

People can tell when you’re trying too hard, usually because the information you provide them with becomes inconsistent. There’s no point. It would only be a waste of time to put in so much effort only to be found out. If you feel yourself trying too hard, pull back. Take a breath, slow things down, even disconnect if you have to. Remind yourself to be you and keep every connection confined to its own speed. You get on with different people in different ways. Don’t take it too hard if you feel like you’re getting on with someone and then they just stop responding. Everyone has preferences, everyone has reasons. Some people just change their minds about the whole thing and disconnect themselves without saying anything.

I hope that this is useful.

Remember: just because we’ve changed the way we interact, doesn’t mean we have to change the things we enjoy. Do you and enjoy it! Life is too short not to do the things you like. 

 

Just for fun:

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