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No. 145 / Week 50 ‘17 reflection

So I have this thing I call “The Conundrum.” It has pretty much been the bane of my existence. It’s a silly thing that I have let turn into a very big thing.

It all has to do with...well I guess I’m not 100% sure what it has to do with, but I’m pretty sure it comes down to my obsession to want to learn and leave a legacy. Now, I know that sounds strange, but that’s what I keep thinking of every time I fall back into my quandary. More specifically, when it comes to learning and developing I have struggled for years to come up with a system, a proven routine to learn, remember what I learn, then teach what I learn.

So here’s the crux of the whole conundrum: analog v. digital...that’s it! We very much live in an analog world that is being replaced by everything digital. Or, you could even phrase it another way: we very much live in a digital world that is still trying to figure out how to live happily with the analog world. It seems like a lot of people have figured out how to integrate the two quite nicely: they post pictures of themselves reading a physical book on Instagram (analog meets digital), or they use a physical notebook to only type those thoughts and organize them into a blog post or a marketing strategy (again, the two seem to work quite well together). There have even been studies (lot’s of studies—because apparently, this is a big issue) about the negative effects of too much screen time. So people are fighting back by integrating more analog into their lives. Physical book sales are up. Analog watch sales are up. Leather journals and log books are making a major comeback. But where the conundrum sets in for me is when the internet makes all of these ‘physical/analog’ sales spikes. It’s thanks to the digital world that the analog world is thriving! The madness!

At least that’s how it plays out in my mind. I know, I both! That’s what everyone tells me. But for some weird (most likely psychological) reason, that doesn’t seem to work out that well in my brain. Maybe it’s a millennial thing, although I’ve observed Gen-Xer’s and Baby Boomers struggle with this same conundrum just as much, if not more.

And so it continued. It seemed like every other week I had “solved” my conundrum. I went all analog (or, at least I tried to). I bought physical books. I kept notes in a little Field Notes notebook. I journaled every day in my Rustico leather journal. I wore an analog watch. I limited screen time as much as possible. Instead of watching tv, I would play card and board games. I hung posters and maps on the wall. I would look up countries on a globe. But that wasn’t practical, not very sustainable. The reason I went all analog was that I thought digital was bad. But of course, the digital world isn’t bad. It’s amazing when used properly. So the pendulum swung to the other side. I bought eBooks, I used Dayone as my journaling app. I scheduled everything in iCal. But it just wasn’t as satisfying. Even worse, I didn’t feel like I was retaining what I was learning as well. 

My system for doing things today is now mostly digital, although, every now and then I’ll pick up my journal and write or take a book off the shelf and read it. But my reflection this week has to do with change. There is an argument for keeping up with the times. There are also valid reasons to maintain certain traditions. There is room enough for both. The challenge comes when deciding where enough is.

Happy reflecting,