Consumer vs Maker
Shameful admission: I have three Google Reader accounts that I check regularly.
- My everyday account has 100+ subscriptions covering UX, DIY, foodie topics, etc… and I play the inbox zero game with it obsessively.
- My writing persona account has 72 subscriptions that only have to do with the writing, reading, and publishing worlds. I play inbox zero there, too.
- My family account is where I keep my web comic subscriptions, of which I have a reasonable 20 subscriptions. I play inbox zero there as well, but it’s easier because web comics take time and they don’t update on the same days.
I haven’t included Facebook, email, and Twitter. I’ve gone overboard. Lost my balance. I’m a glutton. An information junkie. But it wasn’t always this way. Once upon a time, when I didn’t have a smart phone, a laptop, easy access to the internet…
That is, when I was ten…
I’d also like to note this was before puberty struck…
I was a happy kid. Joyful. Ebullient. I spent my evenings reading classical fiction by Louisa May Alcott, Jane Austen, LM Montgomery, and the like. I went through the entire shelf of how-to books at my library learning all the different ways one can make a doll by hand. In middle school, my parents, sister, and I built a desk out of the old kitchen table. Each Saturday night I camped out at that desk with my painting supplies and would create while listening to A Prairie Home Companion. I was a maker. I had results that showed how I spent my time.
At some point in undergrad, I became a consumer. I didn’t have time to create things, not like I was used to. I created little computer programs, wrote papers, built balsa wood bridges, and connected electrical circuits. I became obsessed with my Google Reader, and it only got worse in grad school.
Thing is, I am not in grad school anymore. I have more free time now than I’ve had in seven years, yet I cling to my habits of those seven years. I am creating; glance at my Flickr and you’ll see I’m making things again. Yet I still feel unbalanced.
Which means I can do one of three things:
- Cut back on the amount I consume,
- Up my level of making, or
- Own the fact that I’m a consumer and leave it at that.
Honestly, number three makes me throw up in my mouth a little, so I’m going to try a combination of numbers one and two. Wish me luck.