Sunday, September 7, 2008

The End of Summer

Oh how the times do change quickly. You know you're getting old when you no longer know about basic Internet tools.

I've discovered RSS feeds. AMAZING! WONDERFUL! WASTE OF MY TIME that I could actually doing work instead of feeding my brain all kinds of information about blogs, politics, games, what's new on the net, and other ways to fill the day. And that's all great for summer, but now school has started and I've just gotten addicted to my Google Reader.

So that's one of the important lessons I've learned this summer. How to waste my time...But seriously, I've learned how to waste time and in turn learned how to appreciate that time. I've learned how to use that time that I would spend on busying my brain with useless and/or useful information and stopping myself mid-blog and turning away from the computer screen, and turning away from a mind so full of information that it can barely breath. And you know what I do to take a break? NOTHING.

And when I say nothing, I MEAN nothing! I don't think about whether I'll like the new Google Chrome web browser and I don't think about how desperately I need to find an affordable external hard drive. I don't think about anything. I just breathe and let my mind rest. You know what happens when your mind rests? A unexplainable smile slowly comes across your face. I'M SERIOUS, IT HAPPENS EVERY TIME! A feeling of joy warms you. I like to think of it as your mind's way of saying "thank you."

And just as I've learned how to let my mind rest, I've also learned the importance of letting my mind wander.

Just recently I had heard a story on good ol' public radio about how children have so much to busy their minds with that they don't develop a strong ability to imagine. While back in the day if you were bored as a kid you often just had to deal with it. One would find themselves daydreaming, which is actually essential to developing an imagination. Nowadays if a kid is bored they have more electronics then ever to busy their minds. They can turn on the television and watch 5 different channels that play cartoons all day. They can get online to any number of websites or online games, not mention the games they can play on their numerous high definition game consoles. There's no boredom in sight, and with that, no daydreaming.

The news spot went on to talk about how a very particular part of the brain was activated when someone was daydreaming, and that this area was an essential part of one's imagination. If this area is not given the attention it deserves it could very well mean that the imagination itself becomes underdeveloped. This is also the part of the brain where our most "bright ideas" come from. The mind gets used to creating ideas or imagining.

And then I thought of how the entertainment business seemed like they had less and less imagination as I grew older. I thought it was just me growing up and becoming cynical. But what if it's not me? That's a scary thought.

For some reason when I heard this on the radio I instantly thought of how I've been so busy working and playing online, that I haven't sketched anything in my sketchbook for a month or more. I haven't really daydreamed or pondered aimlessly since then either. I began to see the importance of doing nothing. Not only does it help the mind rest and relax, but it fosters one's own imagination, and since my job depends on my ability to imagine. I think I should stop spending so much time online and start spending a little more time for myself and away from the computer or the television.

I wonder if anyone else out there feels the importance of this as well?

Oh well, it's the end of summer everyone. And it's the last summer vacation for me. I'm growing up now and I'll be graduating in March, so then it's off to the real world. It's scary but exciting and I won't forget to take the lessons I've learned on my last summer vacation with me.

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