16 April 2016

Hafiz Adewuyi

Why I don't watch stuff

TL;DR: "I don't have a life, cos' I don't deserve a life. I owe my life to the slaving of my predecessors. Have you considered that the amenities, in which by indulging, I am expected to have a life, are only here, because their creators did not 'have a life' themselves?"
For the benefit of those who do not know, I do not watch TV.  I do not follow any series. I hardly ever watch movies. I'm entirely out of tune with Nollywood, cos' I don't watch the TV to listen to the news or watch any shows. I hardly go to social events like weddings (not even to show solidarity), cos' they're often draining, not rewarding, not a worthy cause for my expensive free time.

Below is an exhaustive list of my willful free-time activities:

- Meeting with friends, dates (when our schedules are both convenient; which is rarely)

- Poring over the internet: mainly to satisfy my curiosity or solve day-to-day problems, cos' most people around me on a day-to-day basis aren't as helpful as I would want. So, this leaves me in a situation where I often have to go the arduous route of finding answers online. Could it just be that I'm inept at soliciting for help within my network? (Right now, I'm looking for someone who can refer me to a laundry business that offers "iron-only" service. My internet searches have returned null, because Nigerians do not produce enough. What if someone who has used this sort of service had written about it on their blog, so others needing such a niche service around them would benefit? What if someone had built a location-based recommendation sourcing social network?).

- Reading a book

- Going out to somewhere I want to be (mall, church, outdoors)

- Sleeping (cos' I only get about 5 hours on weekdays)

- Doing a chore 

- Social media, of course (WhatsApp mostly)

- Eating (I really love carefully prepared food)

- Exercising (mostly running)

- Writing (journal, blog, planning)

Seriously, that pretty much sums up what I do with all of my free time, everyday of my life. If there are any items missing, they cannot be more than a couple, which I probably don't do that regularly. Cos' of course if I did, it'd be at the top of my mind.

Well, why am I writing about this? It's because I get asked, too many times, what I'm doing in the office on a weekend; why I don't have a life. While I do not look down on the more regular activities that people invest their free time in, this relatively unconventional selection of free-time activities is my choice, 100%. 

I should let you know, that I do not even think that I have made the right choice in these activities. For one, I'm a total bore in a typical gathering of people in my age group, because I can't relate to much of the mutually consumed media.

The literary piece below will do its best to communicate the thought process behind my choice of free-time activities.

I WANT TO DO, not watch!
One afternoon, just this past week, I turned on the Diesel generator at home for about 4 minutes to microwave my lunch. While idling for my food to be ready, my mind was thinking how easy it was to get my food from 'cold' to 'ready-to-eat'. At how comparatively difficult it would have been, had someone not put their head down to think about the good that designing a microwave oven could bring to the lives of millions of people in decades to come. Utter gratefulness is the only description for the emotion that washed through me in that moment.

The kind of muse I just described above is something my mind now processes subconsciously as I experience life. It's become internalized that I owe it to my existence to give something tangible back to mankind, no matter how little, as often I have the chance. By privilege alone, I have access to so many luxuries in life, thanks to the sacrifice of historical people I don't even know. People who dedicated their lifetimes to improving the living conditions of mankind as a whole. The quality of life of a Pharaoh in Ancient Egypt would be a big fat joke, when you place amenities available to him against those the middle-class Nigerian family can access readily today. 

How much of this exponential development is thanks to the input of me, my countrymen or my ancestors? I will argue next to none, because I see the evidence around me everyday. Our transportation system has been stuck in time for decades. You make several millions a year, yet you're still living in poverty because you have to pay for electricity, a decent environment and decent public transportation through your nose. Just this week, I was reliably informed that some employees of a private Nigerian organization ferried dissatisfaction over becoming redundant (as the bulk of their jobs has been automated by newly acquired technology) to the MD of the organization!!! Like, can people get any more backward than this? Get a clue about life, suckers; life gives no shit about your sustainability, how much less your hapless MD!

If I've been able to communicate anything in the last few paragraphs, I believe you can start to figure out how spending the weekend as a consumer of 'entertainment' goes directly against my core values. So engraved is the mindset of producing, rather than consuming in my free time, that these things that used to count for entertainment barely catch my attention nowadays. I don't know if this is a good thing. A vital part of me is laid to rest, but I do not give much thought to it, because I arrived here of complete free will.

Do I end up producing much in my free time? Not really, because I'm human, because more often than not, I end up spending the minimal percentage of my free time producing, even though I set out to do just that. But I believe that putting myself in conditions where producing is more likely, is a giant move in the right direction.

Next time someone asks me why I don't have a life, I will boldly spell out the TL;DR of this article to them. Because, that is the utter truth of how I feel.

I would love nothing more than a response to this, from someone justifying how I need to have more of a life, despite my convictions about productivity vs consumption.

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