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.
It’s been about 3 months since I moved to Tokyo. There are a lot of things that are very different about this city than say Delhi or Seattle for example. There are a few I don’t like but then there are quite a few that are absolutely wonderful. One of the great things about Tokyo is just how safe I feel in general. It’s a feeling that cannot be described because usually it is about lack of certain elements and environments and so our mind struggles to define the lack of something.
There are quite a few anecdote’s I had heard about Tokyo and all of them ring true somehow. You can leave your cellphone on a table at a coffee shop and that is sufficient to reserve the table (and obviously no one will take it). You can forget your cellphone or camera on a train and you will get it back within the hour. You can actually leave your cellphones on a train seat I heard to hold your seat. 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.
The idea of minimalism is largely known to people in some form or other. However the term minimalism being used to represent this idea may not be very popular or mainstream. The interesting part though, in my personal experience, has been that those who do know the term minimalism have strong opinion on it. They might be strongly in favor of it and consider it a life enhancing tool or they might be strongly not in favor of this and consider it a waste of time and a blight on human nature.
I was largely unaware of this term a few years ago. And I don’t remember when I did start understanding the term but I remember calling myself a minimalist at least a few times in the last 5 years or so. I happened to watch a documentary, sometime in 2017, on Netflix called Minimalism and that helped coalesce some of my thoughts into more coherent opinions. If you would like to watch it, check out this website. Continue reading
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.
The story really starts about 10.5 months ago when I bought a Fitbit. I thought now that I have spent some money I would have more incentive to be fit. But my real journey started way back. Back in 2007, I was in my 2nd year of graduation. I was a thin person. People (mostly relatives) used to question me on my food habits and the quality of the mess food. But in a way I never had to bother about fitness and weight since I was thin and that was all fitness meant to me then.
It was also during my graduation that I started eating a lot, at all times and all kinds of things. I also started getting more stressed and used food as a cope-up mechanism. In no time, all that oil and butter and fat was getting on me. I still remained thin but my waist started to creep up. However I was too lazy or too weak to exercise. I used to just convince myself that I don’t need to do any of it since that’s not my strong area. I considered working on a computer to be my strength and that’s all I did. Sitting and sometimes lying on the bed for hours at a stretch meant my body got little work out.
About a month ago I got a chance to read a very interesting book called Sapiens. It was written by a historian and it was one of the most thought provoking books I have had a chance to read. I rarely read non-fiction but history interests me somewhat. This book was more of a mashup between human history and psychology. It’s goal in a way was to write an unbiased history of the Homo genus, more specifically the Homo sapiens species. That, btw, is modern human beings
What really caught my attention was a very obscure fact. The brain matter of another human species, Neanderthals, was bigger than homo sapiens. Yet that specie died out and never developed civilization and sophisticated tools etc. For all of my life, I had assumed that humans are special because we have more brain matter. However I was clearly wrong.
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.
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.
At first I felt this title might be catchy like a clickbait. But then on pondering about it for a few minutes I realized that it is more truthful than catchy. The idea of leaving amazon is almost like the idea of embracing change. It makes me think about the transitions we make which are almost unbelievable before we do them and simplistic once we do. For example using Facebook in times of Orkut seemed pointless and my first year or so with FB account had no real activity but now I can’t imagine using Orkut 😛
The short story is that I decided to leave my current role without really knowing what I am going to do next. The long story follows below.