What I’m reading
• In completely non-shocking news, the rich are getting richer.
• Visual Capitalist on 20 most common investing mistakes.
• Death by 1000 small fees: hidden charges are getting ridiculous for sure.
• Early retirement in England, mostly the preserve of the wealthy. This is discussing ER in your 50s and 60s, which is more of the traditional ER definition.
On the tail of yesterday’s post, I am really trying to stay off social media and as we head into the end months of the year. It is one of the reasons I started writing here again regularly: it keeps me from doomscrolling social media (or what I have left of it namely, Instagram). I was saying to Mr. Tucker last night that I keep thinking about the quote by Tom Eastman:
I’m old enough to remember when the Internet wasn’t a group of five websites, each consisting of screenshots of text from the other four.
It really stuck with me because the algorithm keeps serving me up tweets, fb and tumblr posts that keep getting shared and shared. I have seen many of them myriad times as they get recycled and the algorithm picks old ones back up again and cycles them through people’s feeds. While I enjoy them – after all the algorithm does a great job of determining what I like & what I will share (thus continuing the cycle) – it’s not adding much value to my life and so it is time to cut another app out. I admire Mr. Tucker and his complete disdain for social media. He will just delete the app and move on with his life. I need to learn from him, to be quite honest.
Over our morning coffee, I said to Mr. Tucker that it’s weird that socially it is totally normal for people to pick up their phone during a conversation but not say, pick up a book and start reading. There is an urgency in checking one’s notifications that makes scrolling acceptable. Even when Mr. Tucker and I sit down in the mornings, I feel sheepish about picking up a magazine and reading that I don’t feel that if I pick up my phone and start to scroll Instagram. It’s such an odd phenomenon.
I loved the idea behind Mouse Books which sadly now looks defunct. Dutton has a more modern pocket series of books as well that you can still buy. I feel that this would be a good solution for the in-between times: in the doctor’s office, waiting for the bus, in line practically anywhere and in the bathroom (remember reading the back of a shampoo bottle? My children will never know the suffering of forgetting to bring a book to the washroom).
I’ve discovered that I scroll the most under two conditions: when I feel bored or when I feel anxious. Anxiety happens when I watch movies and there is tension in the story, for example. I pick up my phone as a way to alleviate it even though building tension is a crucial part of the movie watching process. I also pick up my phone when the boredom settles in to alleviate that feeling, which is probably just anxiety from the fact that my brain is stuck with its own thoughts. BUT then I complain that I don’t do enough creative work on the projects I want to accomplish (ie: writing here, painting, knitting and video work). But the most rewarding projects require you to sit with the boredom. If I did, I would eventually resolve to pick up a project that is a bigger hurdle to start. The phone is an easy win, settling down to do a creative project requires you to push through that boredom and anxiety.
I am glad that facebook has stopped allowing Canadians to post news articles because 80% of my usage was posting news articles and then discussing them with my friends. A friend recently told me that this blog reminds her of my old livejournal because I would constantly be posting news roundups in the morning. At the time I did a news link email for my organization as part of my job so it was a natural extension of that work. So thanks for being cheap, facebook! It’s kept my eyeballs off of your ads because I no longer enjoy your site! So it’s good to be back to more long form writing.
It’s about 1.5 months until the end of the year and this is when I typically review:
1 – My mailing lists: what am I still receiving that I don’t read or that doesn’t add value to my life? I need to stop spending so much time deleting junk email or mailing lists I don’t really want to be on.
2 – My online paid subs: do I still enjoy the content from X creator enough to keep paying?
3 – The media subs: digital and print. While I think I will never be able to get away with canceling Spotify or Netflix (thanks, children), I do need to probably stop the New Yorker. I love the magazine but it’s way too much and I never get around to reading them. I often don’t read every Saturday newspaper but I do want to support journalism and I also get a tax credit for supporting Canadian content (which is why I will also keep The Walrus). I canned Canadian Notes & Queries and The Canadian Literary journal as well.
4 – Do I give up Instagram? Do I make rules around its consumption? It is really my last hold out from random scrolling (praise Jeebus I never got into TikTok) of stories.
Finally, I got together with The Americans* last night and we chatted and played Trivial Pursuit. Because I was imbibing some Greyhounds (vodka/grapefruit/soda) I feel confident enough to tell you that I won the game**! Despite the fact we chat every day on Signal I do miss their faces quite a bit. It was nice to pick up a game and just hangout.
Have a great weekend!
*these ones are mine, get your own
**I most certainly did not