• Unload in December



    A friend showed me a painting called “Oblivion” presenting a human with an exploding head because of all the data, all the information on various media and everything we need to know, or what we think we should know.

    I am not a big fan of modern art but I related to the piece so much. It is what is happening to all of us these days. Too much data. Too much going on.

    Sometimes it takes a big, expensive lesson to let us rest, take a break and think about our priorities. If we only had 64GB of memory, what data should we keep and what should we dispose of? Sometimes you wish you had an external hard drive to keep 15,000 photos. But ask yourself, why? Maybe we should learn to choose what to keep and what not to. Not just photos, but books, songs, etc.

    My realization of this made me appreciate that work of art. Sometimes we have too much information about everything, too much on our “to-do” lists, and having a smartphone is akin to carrying a desktop computer because you can actually store that much information.

    Last week I also could not find my spare phone, a Blackberry, which my nephews think is so passé. The Universe swallowed this phone. And since I turned it off, there is no way I can locate it anymore. So I now know I can live with just one device or one phone in my purse.

    Who knows? Maybe I dropped this somewhere during my travels. But it happened and I am not frantic or worried anymore. I misplaced my other phone two weeks ago and learned to live without it.

    It reappeared and I saw only two messages—from the phone company—which means none of my friends tried to even send a message on that one. Then again, there’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. People even submit proposals now through private messages on FB. Has that made FB messages official now?

    For December, for the first time in 12 months, I am not flying off to anywhere. Again the Universe has taken over and made me stay put. Maybe it is time to reflect on everything that happened in 2014 and prepare for the New Year. Maybe it is time to tidy up the house, throw away the old, bring in the new. Maybe it is time to see old friends, make time to reconnect with family members who we do not see very often.

    I am glad to finally take a break from going away and sitting down to write something like this. Like the painting’s subject, we must not overload our brains or our heads with data and schedules. Otherwise, we will also forget the information as fast as it comes in.

    I told a friend that when I studied a Nippongo when I was 17, I still retain all the words and phrases learned in that language course even today. But for Italian which I learned in my 40s, I cannot retain as much of the lessons. She said, “It’s about synapses in the brain that decrease as you get older.” Oh I see.

    So therefore, as we get older and we try to retain as much as we can we find out we can no longer do that. The “gigs” just keep decreasing. Think 64 GB going to 32GB then maybe staying at 16GB. Hmmm.

    Understanding gigabytes and memory is important if we are to face reality. Not being able to retain names of people we just met. Not retaining names of our staff or mixing up their names.

    We cannot fire the brain with drums or gallons of turmeric or Gingko Biloba. What we need to do is to empty it of all the junk and gunk we get from all the media we have today. And learn to choose what we want to keep and remember.

    Think about what you have been up to the past 11 months. How much time did you have to just stop and unlearn some things? How much time did you have to unload your memory onto a hard drive called scrapbooks and albums? How much time have you given yourself to just sit still?

    Join me in my December retreat from memory overload. Lest we find ourselves the subject of yet another painting like “Oblivion.”

    Happy unloading.

    * * *

    Chit Juan is the founder and president of ECHOstore Sustainable Lifestyle located in Serendra , Podium, Centris, Davao City, Makati and Cebu. She is the President of Women’s Business Council of the Philippines and the Philippine Coffee Board Inc. She often speaks to corporates, academe and entrepreneurs about her advocacies: Social Enterprise, Women Empowerment and Coffee. You can reach her at puj@echostore.ph or find her on Twitter@Chitjuan , Instagram: CHITJUAN or LinkedIn: Pacita Juan.


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