Wednesday, December 28, 2005

OPINION: On Being Busy and Being Happy

When someone who is single gets busy there is never someone there with firsthand knowledge of their life to help keep that person in check.

In our lives, we are all at different stages of being busy. When we are young and we move from one phase of our lives into the next, we step into a new stage of being busy. At first we say "I've never been so busy before", then we grow used to being that busy, and wonder what we did with our spare time before. Then when holidays come or we have spare time, we don't sit and relax like we used to, we find new and creative ways to be busy during our holidays, like repair work around the house, writing letters to people, writing in our journal or we create projects for ourselves.

When we are busy, we get so caught up in what keeps us busy that we start to neglect other things. At first it is okay, we neglect 'expendable' things, like spare time. Then we see just how much time we're wasting in a day, and decide to take more hours at work, take an extra class at school or whatever. For some reason we think that "only if I could make more money" or "only if I could take one more class" would I be happier.

Then we lose more of our spare time, and the only non-busy time we have is spent being busy for ourselves, like going grocery shopping, doing laundry, and eating. Life becomes stressful and not very much fun. Then you hit the point of terminal busy-ness, when you don't have time to do things for yourself anymore, laundry and eating become burdens. At this point you have officially sold your soul to your work or school or whatever is keeping you busy.

The biggest problem with being busy is that you neglect others. You no longer have free time to visit a friend in need. You rush around in traffic cutting people off, forgetting that others are more important than you. You don't have time to bring someone soup who is sick, or write a letter to someone dealing with pain. You don't have time to put others before yourself.

You also stop giving yourself time to develop your potential in areas with no immediate redeeming value. You stop excercising, playing instruments or doing other hobbies. You stop having fun, and at some point you stopped being happy.

While having too much time on your hands can be bad too, I struggle most with being too busy. I think it is hard to find a balance between myself, others, work, and school, spare time and play. I am young and I need to play more, but I've tried to grow up so fast that I maybe have forgotten how to play. Instead of being the random nut I used to be now I come across as busy, boring and often selfish.

My real goal along with everyone else is to be happier. I take more hours at work, or take that extra class because I think it will make me happier. I get caught in the "I can't wait until .... only then will I be happy" syndrome. I know I can be happy now if I just put others before myself.

Final thought: Is it selfish to put others before yourself for your own happiness?

Sunday, December 04, 2005

INFO: License Plates of Canada

Provincial license plates are issued to cars depending on which province you register your vehicle in. In some ways license plates act like flags, as symbols of a country, province or state. These are the license plates of the provinces of Canada.

License plates available thanks to:

Thursday, December 01, 2005

INFO: Abolition of Slavery

I have some American friends who seem to think that the USA has always been a leader in the area of human rights. In school, I seem to remember reading stories about how the Underground Railroad was a way to help slaves escape from the USA to countries free of slavery like Canada and Mexico.

I was curious to see exactly when each major country abolished slavery, so I made the below table to answer my curiousity.

In 1807 Britain passed an anti-slave act, followed by an 1833 Abolition of Slavery act. This of course was applied to the whole of the british empire, including Canada. According to my reading though, it seems that this was merely an official end to slavery of people of african descent. Most european empires did not believe that the countries they occupied were civilized and capable of self-government unless they had a predominant proportion of europeans like in North America. This meant that in British colonies, the colonists were always first-class citizens, and the native people of the country were second-class citizens. Though 1833 was meant to bring the end of slavery in the British empire, it is likely that some forms of slavery or extreme servantry were perpetuated for years.

Also of note, France and its colonies abolished slavery in 1794 due to the French Revolution, but it was re-established later in 1796 when Napoleon gained control.

Haiti 1791 
Spain (+colonies except Cuba) 1811 
Ecuador, Colombia, Panama, Venezuela 1821 
Chile 1823 
Mexico 1829 
United Kingdom (+colonies) 1833 
Sweden 1843 
France and (+colonies) 1848 
Denmark (+colonies) 1848 
Russia 1861 
The Netherlands (+colonies) 1863 
USA 1865 
Puerto Rico 1873 
Cuba 1886 
Brazil 1888 
China 1910 

Further Reading:

HUMOR: Follow the Instructions - Exam

Use a blank sheet of paper to take this test for each person taking this exam, you can compare answers when all have finished.
Read everything before doing anything but work as fast as you can.

1. Write your full name on the upper right hand corner.

2. Write the name of the place where you live.

3. Draw a circle around the answer to question 2.

4. Write the name of your birthplace.

5. Write the name of your favorite superstar (sports, film, etc.).

6. Draw a triangle on the lower left hand corner.

7. Underline the answer to question 5.

8. Write down your age in months.

9. State whether you are married or single.

10. Multiply your age in years by 8 and write down the product.

11. Draw an equilateral triangle on the upper left hand corner.

12. Draw an X inside this equilateral triangle.

13. When you reach this point, shout "I have!"

14. Call out loud your first name.

15. Put your hand on top of your head, close your eyes and count out loud from 10 to 1.

16. Keep your hand on top of your head and write down your favorite number.

17. Now that you have read everything before doing anything, do only question 1. Then put down your pen or pencil and if others are taking this test with you, wait for the others to finish. Do not talk!