Fear of missing out is defined on Wikipedia as “a pervasive apprehension that others might be having rewarding experiences from which one is absent”. This social anxiety is characterized by “a desire to stay continually connected with what others are doing”.
Before I started writing this blog I thought it was just a cultural term that’s become popular but on reading a bit more about it, I realized that is an actual social anxiety and can become a serious threat to psychological stability of people.
Before I decided to read this book, I used to laugh at the title and I probably looked down on people who might have read it. I mean who needs to read a book to win friends? What kind of loser would that person be? Well, here I am, one of such Losers. In hindsight, the title of the book is unfortunate but catchy. Maybe had it not been titled such, it would not have sold as much or stood out among people the way it did.
This is not a book review as such. This post is more about my opinion on the book and the other chain of thoughts it made me wonder about. The book was first published in 1936. Just reflect on that. Here is a book that can be termed self-help that is still valid and working for 81 years now. That caught my fantasy. The other thing that was equally appealing was Goodreads page of this book. This book has a rating of 4.22/5 from 322,000+ ratings. That blew my mind. Here is a book which 320,000 people have bothered to review and rated 4.2 on average. I mean surely it must have had a profound impact on a lot of people. But even before I got to this point, this book was recommended and was also on my to-read list. I picked it up to read without hesitation.
I am reading this book right now called The world without us by Alan Weisman. It talks about the world that will be if humans were to somehow miraculously be removed from Earth. And it got me thinking of a poem I wrote about 8-9 years ago that I had titled It will too turn to dust. Sitting here looking at rain and the water around me, I can’t help but think about the world we are making for ourselves.
And one day this too shall turn to dust
Weather down and slowly mix with earth
But long before that day comes
This world will shake and crumble
By our own bombs.
We talk of nothing but war
We crave nothing but fight
We see nothing but me
And we following nothing but rage Continue reading
The idea of Ego and the byproducts of it have been on my mind for the last few weeks. The concept of Ego is so strongly ingrained in our lives and worlds, in each culture and society perhaps, that it is difficult to look at it objectively. But given the recent events, I felt that it is something I want to think about, explore and write about.
The ego is used to refer to the concept of Self. In most cases, I would consider ego as the separating self. Because the idea of ego is to represent the self that differentiates you from the rest. It defines the I among we. It outlines the uniqueness of each individual. It is how we define our self-worth in most cases.
This exact line has been the response of me telling people I am leaving Amazon and moving to Tokyo. It has been a very interesting question because no one asked me why Seattle when I left Bangalore. In fact I have been pondering over this quite a bit and I don’t think I have a great answer.
I wonder if part of the question is implicitly asking: Why leave US? And why leave Amazon? If I have to answer the question of why Tokyo, I probably need to answer these questions.
I started my work career by doing an Intern at IBM. I definitely learned a lot on that role but that wasn’t really my first job. It was always going to be a short role with a fixed end date, so it always felt incomplete, like I didn’t belong. The first company where I joined for a full time role was Cisco but again that wasn’t really a job. I didn’t do a lot there, neither in terms of work nor in terms of achievement. For me looking back at Cisco brings fond memories of hanging out in a cafeteria, making some good friends and (of course) getting paid. I never talk of Cisco as my first job since I didn’t really work there. I left Cisco after 6-7 months so I didn’t really feel any emotion leaving or had strong bonds with my team etc.
Gokarna is almost a unknown twin of Goa. It’s a small religious town in Karnataka, located right on the beach and just below the state of Goa. My trip started off from Bangalore. There are quite a few different types of buses to go from Bangalore to Gokarna. I think there are trains from Bangalore as well but those usually take longer. On this trip we took a bus around 8PM in the evening and reached Gokarna around 6AM. The bus was a sleeper bus with A/C which meant I got some shut-eye during the night. However I strongly recommend to check the bus quality before going since buses can be really filthy. We had taken the KSRTC bus and seriously it was dirty, smelly and full of insects. I wouldn’t recommend it but I am hopeful that there are other cleaner buses as well.
Once we got to Gokarna town, we decided to wing it a bit in terms of where to stay. There are very few established places / hotels in the area. There are 3 major beaches with any kind of accommodation: Kudle, Om beach, Half moon beach. There is one more beach called Paradise beach but that doesn’t have any place to stay as such.
As I mentioned in some of my blogs from January, I started meditating this year. I had started to not like myself because I was always ready to snap. I had long thought of myself as a cool and composed person but that had started becoming more of a fictional character. So I turned to meditation to channel some of these energies.
Meditation is a fun activity when you don’t rush it or force it. I started meditating regularly and most days tried to do it in a part of my day where I wasn’t time pressed. Once I started to clear my head of the everyday thoughts about work, traffic, food, money, TV, technology etc I got a little more mental room to follow some of the other thoughts that would pop up. Earlier I would have run out of time or energy to even consider such thoughts but I felt more upbeat after starting to meditate.
If you haven’t already read the first part of us being in Liberia and Del Coco, I highly recommend reading it here.
We were on a week vacation to Costa Rica and spent the first few days basking in the sun and rolling in the beach. Our second leg was to go to Arenal Volcano region.
Initially we had planned to take a bus from Del coco to arenal volcano where we had planned to spend the last half of our trip. But when we did check out the bus situation it would take 6+ hours and need 3 bus changes to get to La Fortuna (which is the main town near Arenal volcano). Our hotel was about 10 KM from La Fortuna town so we would then have to take another taxi. We kind of decided at last-minute to get a rental car. If you book in advance you can get them for like $10-15 a day and ours was $25 a day. In hindsight, this was the best decision of our trip.
Recently I had a chance to visit Costa Rica. For those of you who don’t know where it is (like I did a year ago), it is in South America. I would say it is central america reaching out to meet south america. You can almost miss it in Maps between the Mexico at top and Colombia / Brazil below. My trip lasted almost a week and it was a very interesting one indeed. In some ways it was a trip of firsts. It was my first trip to South America. It was my first trip where I wasn’t on a vacation from work. It was my first trip to a volcano. It was my first trip where I drove a car. It was also my first trip where I felt US was cheaper.
I had been meaning to take a vacation since Gayatri had a week off around this time. The idea was to go somewhere where I can use an old Alaska airline credit but still not in USA. We kind of settled down to 2 main choices: Cuba and Costa Rica. Both had their pros / cons but what did it eventually was that Cuba was super booked. It seemed like every hotel was booked due to President Day weekend and flights were crazy expensive. As usual I tried to avoid crowds and ended up booking the tickets to Costa Rica.