Consume, create, reflect

This is high quality of life.

Coffee, calm, and cashews: quality of life Coffee, calm, and cashews: quality of life

Leaning back on a friend's sofa, a good cup of coffee and some cashews within easy reach. A quiet home on a quiet day, perfect for letting the mind wander.

I have always wanted to create more, to spend less time on just consuming things (especially random things (hello social networks!)) Thus, I have had labels in my mind sorting time spent under consumption and creation. Input and output, nice and simple. Despite the world yelling at me from all directions, it is only very recently I have truly realized that there is a third label I really should learn to make use of: reflection.


Spending time consuming - text, music, podcasts, movies, what have you - is easy. So easy that I need no help whatsoever spending vast amounts of time taking stuff in. Stuff, the quality and depth of which usually decreases rapidly as my energy levels go down. It is so easy that I typically want to find ways of doing less consumption. I get restless if I consume too much, and feel that things I take in are a bit wasted because I do not give myself enough time to process them.


Creating is a bit more difficult but often more enjoyable. I love creating - most often in the form of writing or podcasts - and time flies when I get going. Energy is required (though not as much as I tend to imagine before I start) but other energy is generated, and when I have created something I feel good about relaxing. I often want to create more, but I feel I have a much better balance than when it comes to consuming.


Reflection, that is the tricky one. What I am talking about here is taking the time to … well, reflect. Catch up with thoughts, look up from immediate details and away from distractions. Figure out what I am thinking about. This is tricky, trickier still because not only the wide world of consumption is there to distract, but also the fun of creating. I tend to think of all time spent creating as a win, but it is becoming clear to me time spent reflecting is even more important and worth rewarding. I am bad at this, so bad that I have a hard time doing it even when I realize the need is there. Writing stuff down can sometimes work, but it is darn easy to go off on a tangent and start creating a little text about one thing instead of keeping on trying to lift my gaze and actually reflecting. Or, of course, to start wondering about something and end up consuming again.

(See this text, for example. Sure, it tends toward reflection and processing of thoughts, but it quite clearly is creation. I do not think my thoughts will go as far or as deep before I look away from a screen again. It is possible I would not have worked out my thoughts this far without writing, but it feels a bit like training wheels; helpful in the beginning but clearly limiting in the long run.)

Where this leaves me? On a very nice sofa, to start with. A very good first step.

I need mor practise, that is all.