The High Cost of Education

(I started this post before doing a monthly reading list, of which I am tardy on this month. But I left this sitting in drafts. My goal over the next month is to complete every draft that I’ve started and get it published on the blog. What you’ll see is that I have a problem with spending money on books, I have a lack of space with which to house all of my books, and I have a lack of time with which to read all of my books. So, about the same as any other book-lover all over the world.)

I’ve paid for an education on credit. No, not the degrees that I’ve eared (though the debt I’ve accrued in earning those is substantial), but I specifically speak about my love of books, or bibliophilia. And what an education. I can’t help but peruse the stacks at Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, or the countless used bookstores that I frequent. The musty smell, a fragrance that only holds a hint of the words of thousands-upon-thousands of women and men, just waiting to be re-released into the world.


So I stack books on shelves, on top of each other, on the floor. I try and read as many as I can, though I usually only finish one per week, though if it’s particularly gripping I’ll get through it in a little less time. The point I’m making, though, is that I find it difficult to leave a bookstore without some acquisition (or two or three, etc). My collection on philosophy, metaphysics, logic and esoterica is growing just over the past year (2017 – I was contemplating enrolling in a PhD Philosophy program, but have set that on the back burner for now).

I keep one bookshelf in my room, just to store the current interests. I’ve got books from Karl Ove Knausgaard, Alan Watts, Neil Gaiman, and Joseph Campbell. There are books on writing, time management, chakras, meditation, and philosophy. An entire shelf is made up of journals and notebooks – some blank, some partially written in, and others full of my scribblings. And every day, multiple times, I find myself just looking at the book shelf.

It may be impossible to read through everything I’ve purchased, but as John Waters said, “Nothing is more important than an unread library.”

Where’d you go?

Took a few extra days (false start) after my trip. There was a lot going on, and some things I’ve been thinking about. 

For instance, why posting every day is a silly strategy. Now I’m not necessarily using this blog to drive traffic or strum up business, but the thought did occur to me – what am I writing for?

The answer I came up with is I write because I have to. So if no one reads it, or doesn’t follow the latest post, it’s not really a big deal. When I started writing, it was about being accountable. Going to the daily (until the Alaska trip) postings, that was about accountability and productivity.

Getting back into the swing of being productive hasn’t been easy. I realize that everything I say in defense of not writing daily becomes just an excuse. That I could find time to sit and post. I could make time.

The truth is, though, sometimes you need to step back. It’s impossible to just keep moving along, everyday. In The Four Agreements, Don Miguel Ruiz writes, “Always do your best… Your best is going to change from moment to moment, it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self judgment, self- abuse, and regret.”

So I can start each morning stating I will do my best.

I can end each night asking Have I done my best?

And that’s all anyone can ever really do.

Find the off switch

It’s exhausting to be constantly “on”. In extreme cases, I can think of comedians who privately battle depression, but while in public maintain their irreverent persona to the joy of others.

It can be similar in business affairs, in keeping up with the Jones’s, or even in maintaining a functioning household. If there’s no time for full relaxation or decompression, then you’re just “on”, and eventually you’ll burn out.

Expansion

In my calendar, I try to segment by color what it is I’m doing. Work. Gigs. Side jobs. Health and exercise. I’ve got a calendar header titled Expansion, and it tends to be my most exciting one.

Anything that grows who I am falls under this header. It can be as simple as reading time, or as extensive as travel or getting my SCUBA certification. When the other calendar entries look too heavy, I make time for Expansion. Because if we’re not growing, we’re just dying.

Week’s highlights

Here some things I was looking at this week:

  • Spider-Man: Far from Home, and the black outfit. I saw the film just a few days ago, and then this article popped up for me. The four-color dot printing process was something I’d been familiar with, but not given much thought in terms of blue vs. black. Enjoyed this piece, and the film (with AC/DC’s Back in Black making the rounds ala the Iron Man films).
  • Free Nintendo Online for Amazon Prime members. A buddy passed this on to me, and hey, if you have Prime, why not?
  • Why mosquitoes like my girlfriend more than they like me. Just something interesting.
  • And what I’ve passed on the most – JOMO. Probably the thing that aggravates people the most about me is that I say no. A lot. But with my time being the only commodity I can really actively control, I just can’t say yes to everything. Really, hardly anything – with many requests coming in for my time, there aren’t enough hours in the day. So I miss out, and happily so. It’s the joy of missing out.

Slow the f*ck down

Life sure is fast. 

I started writing this in January. I think it had something to do with cars speeding to places. Why? Because we’re always going. I’ve wrote a lot about time management, staying busy, etc. But what is the answer?

We work too much, to make just enough money to buy what we don’t need, and pay off the debts that we built up spending more than we had yesterday. We plan for more tomorrow, but don’t expect it to be enough because we’re not satisfied with what we have today, hoping that we’ll be satisfied with what we have tomorrow if only we can work hard enough today to make more than we did yesterday.

It’s f*#!ing exhausting. And we are exhausted. Collectively, we are done. You can tell when you look at us. We escape, rather than inhabit. We tune in, turn off – rather than unplug and be. But it’s coming. The change is coming, when we understand it’s not enough just to keep going – but rather that we must find ways of existing that aren’t so damn fast.

Keeping it going

I am behind. I know, it happens. But it seems that this week, and last, has kept me more busy than I’ve been in several months.

Trying to create time to write, to read, to produce other work, and to sell, has been a juggling act like little I’ve had to do before. So how do I do it?

Writing I am just eking out, one post at a time. Reading, less so. A stack of books is piled by my bed, and other stacks on and around the bookshelf. Other work? Well, that’s another story.

I guess the silver lining is I’m selling well, and should be making enough pay to finance my trip to Alaska next week. Hard to believe it’s less than seven days away. I’m looking forward to writing from there.